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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Blockers (Blu-ray)
Blockers (Blu-ray)
Universal // R // July 3, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Oktay Ege Kozak | posted July 11, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Movie:

As the parent of a toddler, I can't even imagine the day I'm going to have to watch her fly away from the coop to form her own adult life. The parents' fear of being alone can make them do crazy things to cope with their anxiety. Take Lisa (Lesle Mann), Mitchell (John Cena), and Hunter (Ike Barinholz), who not only have to deal with their precious daughters graduating high school and heading off to college, but decide to stop them from losing their virginities during prom night after finding out that they made a "sex pact" to do exactly that. Of course they each have their draconian parental reasons for butting into their almost-adult daughters' sex lives, but Blockers is a smart enough sex comedy to understand that their wholly inappropriate behavior is a projection of their fear of letting their offspring into this insane and unpredictable world.

As the three parents jump from one after party to another to "talk some sense" into their daughters, being reminded of their gender double standard and finding themselves forced to engage in various set pieces that would have made the late 90s gross-out sex comedy craze proud, they gradually come to the realization that controlling the actions of your now adult children is a futile instinct. What I love about the script by Brian and Jim Kehoe is that they never let the characters off the hook from their inherent gender bias, no matter how progressive they claim to be ("I march at every pride", Lisa screams at one point).

Men are celebrated for losing their virginity as soon as possible, with whomever they please, but women's experience needs to be special and carefully planned. By treating the three girls as sexual beings who are fully capable of making their own decisions, the script crashes through the cliché depictions of girls in high school sex comedies, innocent and naïve hotties without any agency other than to be seen as trophies by the male protagonists. A classic gross-out sex comedy like this is bound to bump into gay panic jokes in order to present over the top set pieces that rely on various bodily functions. There are certainly some genius ones here, one involving butt chugging and the other a wholly unintended blindfold orgy. But it's interesting how a genre example like Blockers handles these scenes while having the characters come to terms with their own sexuality.

First time feature director Kay Cannon does a good job of balancing the out there gags and over the top humor with schmaltz that's earned in the end. The six central performances, three from the adults and three from the kids, are delicate and grounded enough for us to care about these characters. Leslie Mann can do the neurotic upper middle class mom character in her sleep at this point. Ike Barinholtz basically transfers his irreverent manic goofball character from the Neighbors movies. It's John Cena who shines here as the psychotically protective father. Cena already showed his terrific comedic timing in Trainwreck. Blockers proves that, despite his old school action star build, he belongs in comedy.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

This is a fairly evenly lit and bright comedy, so don't expect a demo-worthy presentation here. The cinematography is far from spectacular, but it gets the job done. The 1080p transfer is clear and crisp.

Audio:

The DTS-HD 5.1 track comes to life, especially the sub woofer, during the various party scenes. Otherwise, this is a fairly dialogue-heavy film. The track is mainly front-heavy and provides clear audio when it comes to mixing the dialogue and sound effects.

Extras:

Deleted Scenes: Very short excised material.

Gag Reel: Almost three minutes of bloopers.

Line-O-Rama: This has been common with improv-heavy comedy releases recently. Basically we get a series of unused jokes.

Rescue Mission: A reminder of the main characters. Totally unnecessary if you watch the film first.

Prom Night: A brief look at the girls' sex pact.

The History of Sex: Ike Barinholtz riffs for two minutes.

Prom Survival Kit: A very brief video of John Cena giving parents pointers on prom.

Chug, Chug, Chug: A brief behind-the-scenes look at a now infamous scene.

Puke-a-palooza: The breakdown of a vomiting scene that puts Stand by Me to shame.

Commentary: The director shares her experiences with the production. Pretty informative, but there are long gaps.

Final Thoughts:

It's hard to pull off a successful sex comedy with a lot of heart. The crudeness of the comedy bits usually makes the sudden attempts at drama look desperate and unearned. Blockers pulls that off by being equally hilarious and heartfelt.

Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com

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