“Blockers” is a sometimes raunchy, overly slapstick comedy in the vain of “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “Superbad” and “American Pie.” And like those classic comedies, director Kay Cannon’s coming-of-age story not only has plenty of laughs, but it also oozes heart and asks several interesting questions, including an extremely timely challenge to the double standard placed on women. It’s fun and funny — yes, they are different things — while also not being too preachy.
A warning, this is movie definitely earns its R-rating. If you’ve seen any of the trailers, you know there is a scene with butt-chugging — it’s exactly what it sounds like — and that alone might keep people from the theater. Taking everything else in this movie into account, that is one of the more tame set pieces in this 102-minute romp through teenage life.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. It is, after all, a movie about sex. More specifically, a movie about three best friends and high school seniors, Sam (Gideon Adlon), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Julie (Kathryn Newton), who make a pledge to lose their virginity on prom night. Of course, their parents Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) aren’t just going to sit around and let this happen, for various reasons, and so the mad chase begins.
Mann (“Knocked Up,” “This is 40”) is — as she always is in these comedies — solid. And Cena, of WWE fame, does his best to hang with her and Barinholtz (“Neighbors,” “Suicide Squad”), who somehow manages to be the voice of reason while simultaneously making you hate him. Although they do feel a bit “cookie cutter,” all three parents are flushed out and that’s more than I expected in this flick.
Cannon deserves plenty of credit for performing the balancing act between that trio and its counterpart. The interactions between the kids are movie-ish at times but still manage to bring the film back down to earth after some of its larger, more unbelievable moments. All three daughter-parent relationships feel believable, mostly because all three are rehashes from movies of the past. That’s not a bad thing in this case, because Cannon and writers Brian and Jim Kehoe execute these old archetypes very well. They take these worn, cheesy themes and don't simply regurgitate them as is.
There’s a bit of flair and nuance, and it’s because they explore the female side of the equation. For about a decade, teenage coming-of-age movies have always come from the same old angle and it’s refreshing to see a film that not only flips that trend, but does an admirable job, too. “Blockers” is a nice surprise, butt-chugging and all.
“Isle of Dogs” — Beautiful, funny and original. Director Wes Anderson weaves an interesting, desolate and ugly world of wonder drenched in Japanese culture through the eyes of dogs. Everything about it is native to Anderson’s style, and most of it works, even if it heavily relies on a person’s love for dogs to forge a connection.
The acting is subdued, the set pieces don’t always work and a vast majority of the characters are paper thin. But it never slows and there’s always a palpable levity that carries the story.
BOX OFFICE REVIEW
1. “A Quiet Place”: $50,203,562 (week 1); Paramount.
2. “Ready Player One”: $24,624,178 (week 2); Warner Bros. Total gross: $96,484,703.
3. “Blockers”: $20,556,350 (week 1); Universal.
4. “Black Panther”: $8,704,968 (week 8); Buena Vista/Disney. Total gross: $665,630,708.
5. “I Can Only Imagine”:$8,380,983 (week 2); Lionsgate. Total Gross: $31,665,563.
“Truth or Dare” — A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone — or something — begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Nolan Gerard Funk
“Overboard” — A spoiled, wealthy yacht owner is thrown overboard and becomes the target of revenge from his mistreated employee. A remake of the 1987 comedy.
Director: Bob Fisher | Rob Greenberg
Cast: Anna Faris, Eva Longoria, Emily Maddison, Swoosie Kurtz
“The Rider” — After suffering a near fatal head injury, a young cowboy undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.
Director: Chloé Zhao
Cast: Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau, Cat Clifford
“Borg vs McEnroe” — The story of the 1980s tennis rivalry between the placid Björn Borg and the volatile John McEnroe.
Director: Janus Metz
Cast: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny