Reel Opinions


Saturday, April 07, 2018

Blockers

Blockers is a movie that is easy to admire, but hard to laugh at.  For what is supposed to be a broad comedy, this can be deadly.  There are some very likable actors here who are all giving good performances, and there are even some good ideas throughout the script.  But the movie is never as funny as it needs to be, and there is a lot of stuff here that simply does not work.  It's the kind of film that might amuse if you come across it on TV, but it also won't hold your attention for long.

It's also the latest in a genre I like to call "feel good smut".  These are movies that try to be raunchy and push the boundaries for most of their running time, but then go all soft and sentimental, with the final half hour focused on moments where the characters have tears in their eyes as they explore their feelings.  Blockers wants to make us feel good about ourselves, while still leaving room for gags about projectile vomiting.  It's a hard balance to pull off, and when it's done wrong such as here, it can give the viewer the experience of whiplash.  For a movie to successfully go from heartfelt sentiment one scene, to having the next focused on one of the main characters chugging beer with his rear end, we have to really be behind these characters, and that's something that never happens here.  While the cast is good, the characters they're playing simply are not written strong enough for us to buy the sudden and drastic change in tone, and it feels like the desperate calculations of a screenplay rather than genuine character growth.

In the opening scene, parents Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) stand outside an elementary school, and watch their three daughters become instant best friends as they head off for their fist day.  The parents, in turn, become friends as well and prepare to face the future together.  Flash forward to the present, where the three daughters are Seniors in high school and still the best of friends, while their parents are not exactly on good speaking terms.  Lisa and Mitchell are still friendly with each other, but seldom talk outside of Facebook posts.  As for Hunter, he cheated on his wife at some point, and is basically looked down on upon by Lisa and Mitchell, as well as by his own daughter.

As for the three daughters, it's Prom Night, and they are anticipating having sex for the first time with their individual dates.  Lisa's daughter, Julie (Kathryn Newton), is dearly in love with her Prom date, Austin (Graham Phillips), and wants this to be her first time.  She's even hoping to follow Austin when he goes to UCLA in the fall, even though her overprotective mother wants her to go to the University of Chicago, which is closer to home.  Julie has been accepted to UCLA, and doesn't know how to tell her mom.  Her two best friends, the adventurous Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and the much more meek Sam (Gideon Adlon), also are planning to have sex with their dates, though it seems more experimental for them than out of genuine love.  Sam, in particular, is secretly more interested in a relationship with another girl at school.  The three girls share their excitement over losing their virginity in an on-line chat using mostly emoji symbols, and when their parents stumble upon the conversation by discovering Julie's open laptop, Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter decide to head out and track down their daughters before they "make a mistake".

To its credit, Blockers is fairly smart for a teen sex comedy.  The girls are not written as sex-starved airheads.  They are smart, and they actually talk honestly about what they're going into.  But while the movie may be smart about certain things, it is never as funny as it should be.  You have Mann, Cena and Barinholtz getting trapped in various awkward sexual situations, flipping over cars during high speed chases, and pretty much racing their way through every scene the movie throws at them.  But the things they talk about with each other just isn't that strong.  The one-liners don't hit like they should, despite the energy and chemistry of the actors.  The script has the stench of a project that was probably rewritten multiple times, trying to please everyone in the audience.  It ultimately becomes a generic and forgettable experience that is likable from time to time, but just never takes off like it should.

There are good moments here that hint at the funnier and more genuine movie that it could have been, but this is let down by a tone that gets increasingly sillier and off the wall with each passing scene.  By the time John Cena is breaking into numerous hotel rooms looking for his daughter, and picking up and throwing her Prom date into a wall (all somehow without attracting the attention of hotel security, mind you), the movie feels like it has left reality behind.  That's what makes the sentimental scenes feel so forced.  Either you go zany and over the top, or you go honest.  The filmmakers never seem to pick a side.  I also think the characters suffer a lot from this uneven tone.  We're never sure how to feel about them.  Sometimes they seem to make sense, and sometimes they're live action cartoon characters.

Blockers just never settles on a tone or what exactly it wants to be, and I think that's what holds it back from being the movie it wants to be.  It's never exactly terrible, but it is disappointing.  You want to see these actors work together again with a better script.  I'm hoping this happens sooner rather than later.

0 comments

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009
02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009
05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009
06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009
07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009
08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009
09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009
10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010
01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010
02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010
03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010
04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010
05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010
06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010
07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010
10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010
11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010
12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011
01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011
02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011
03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011
06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011
07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011
08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011
09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011
10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011
11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011
12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012
02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012
04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012
05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012
06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012
07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012
08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012
09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012
10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012
11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012
12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013
01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013
02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013
03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013
04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013
05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013
06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013
07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013
08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013
09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013
10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013
11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013
12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014
01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014
02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014
03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014
04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014
05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014
06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014
07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014
08/01/2014 - 09/01/2014
09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014
10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014
11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014
12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015
01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015
02/01/2015 - 03/01/2015
03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015
04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015
05/01/2015 - 06/01/2015
06/01/2015 - 07/01/2015
07/01/2015 - 08/01/2015
08/01/2015 - 09/01/2015
09/01/2015 - 10/01/2015
10/01/2015 - 11/01/2015
11/01/2015 - 12/01/2015
12/01/2015 - 01/01/2016
01/01/2016 - 02/01/2016
02/01/2016 - 03/01/2016
03/01/2016 - 04/01/2016
04/01/2016 - 05/01/2016
05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016
06/01/2016 - 07/01/2016
07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016
08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016
09/01/2016 - 10/01/2016
10/01/2016 - 11/01/2016
11/01/2016 - 12/01/2016
12/01/2016 - 01/01/2017
01/01/2017 - 02/01/2017
02/01/2017 - 03/01/2017
03/01/2017 - 04/01/2017
04/01/2017 - 05/01/2017
05/01/2017 - 06/01/2017
06/01/2017 - 07/01/2017
07/01/2017 - 08/01/2017
08/01/2017 - 09/01/2017
09/01/2017 - 10/01/2017
10/01/2017 - 11/01/2017
11/01/2017 - 12/01/2017
12/01/2017 - 01/01/2018
01/01/2018 - 02/01/2018
02/01/2018 - 03/01/2018
03/01/2018 - 04/01/2018
04/01/2018 - 05/01/2018

Powered by Blogger