Randy’s Review: ‘Blockers’

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Virgin teens make prom night pact

Just in time for prom season, a new raunchy adult comedy, produced by Seth Rogen among others, tackles what you would think would be every parent’s worst nightmare.

A trio of virgin high school senior best friends who have grown up together make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. Hey, wait a minute, we’ve seen this before. They made a whole series of films based on this concept — the “American Pie” series.

Oh but wait my friends, rather than a group of young men, this film centers around teenage girls.

Julie (Kathryn Newton), the apple of her mother’s eye, shares with her two besties Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Aldon) her plans to give herself to her boyfriend, Austin (Graham Phillips), in the perfect environment — in a hotel room amidst a wild post prom party. Her mom, Lisa (Leslie Mann), raising her daughter on her own, sees her daughter as her best friend and is cherishing every moment with Julie before she graduates and moves away to college.

Kayla’s father, Mitchell (John Cena), has raised up an accomplished little jock. He’s not even thrilled with the notion of his young girl going to prom with a guy. Kayla on the other hand wants to enjoy one last shared high school experience with her good friend Julie so she too agrees to give her virginity to her date — her chemistry lab partner, Connor (Miles Robbins). Wanting to protect his little jock from any nasty boy’s advances, Mitchell relentlessly instructs his daughter on how to use a small weapon to gut anyone who comes at her.

Sam, who secretly struggles with her sexuality, reluctantly agrees to join the sex pact and commits to bedding her nerdy, Fedora wearing date, Chad (Jimmy Bellinger).

A special preprom barbecue sendoff brings the parents together, including Sam’s mom (June Diane Raphael), stepdad (Hannibal Buress) and estranged dad, Hunter (Ike Barinholtz). The girls just want to get their “special” night started, but the parents want to celebrate the moment. Hunter agrees and brings a stretch limo for his daughter, her friends and their dates, fully expecting them to rage through the night.

After the barbecue, and with the kids on their way to the prom, Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter clean up the mess. Lisa finds her daughter's open laptop and stumbles across an active open group message using emojis to talk about their sex plans. After the blinders come off, Lisa and Mitchell become insistent that the girls be stopped from this big mistake. Hunter disagrees and doesn’t want the other two doing anything to ruin “the best night” of his daughter’s life.

Lisa and Mitchell ignore Hunter, instead dragging him along as they begin attempting to locate their daughters and dates before anything can go down. And the adventure begins taking them to the high school, Julie’s boyfriend’s home where they catch his parents (Gary Cole and Gina Gershon) in compromising behavior, a large party where Mitchell is challenged to an horrific chugging contest to prove their not cops, and finally to a huge hotel where the after prom party rages into the night.

As a parent of a young daughter I found myself bothered at the prospect that parents would somehow just chalk up the girls behavior of getting drunk, high and losing their virginity on prom night as some goofy right of passage. I’m not going to suggest the movie didn’t have some chuckle moments, and actually a couple of laugh out loud moments, but I felt bothered by this parental mindset that I couldn’t even appreciate the humor.

If you have a daughter — or son — attending prom this year, I’m going to suggest you stay home from this one.

On a scale of 5 popcorn buckets, “Blockers” manages 2 1/2 tubs of very adult oriented laughs. I don’t think you have to be a prude to be bothered by the concept of three girls agreeing to lose their virginity for the sake of a shared high school experience, and parents coming to the realization that it’s really not that big a deal. MPAA rating: R. Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes. This film was reviewed at Southpark 7 Theatres in Spencer.