Blockers Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena
  • Director: Kay Cannon
  • Writers: Brian Kehoe, Jim Kehoe
  • Producers: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg
  • Disc Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: July 3, 2018
  • Run Time: 102 minutes

        Ever since the teen film re-emerged from the days of James Dean to the coming-of-age films of the 1980s, the genre adopted a far franker discussion of sex. Sex and teen films often go hand-in-hand now, and after nearly three decades of movies about teenagers losing their virginity, one would think that there is nothing new left to discover. Some reviewers have pointed out the gender reversal of the typical sex comedy as the defining new element of Blockers, but I actually found the inclusion of the parental figures a far more original element of the film. Not only is the film about the teenagers, but an equal amount of time is spent with the parents as they come to terms with their daughters growing up, in the most haphazard and comical ways possible.

Blockers does manage to address the female side of this milestone in a way that feels more sincere and realistic than comedies such as The To Do List, and it does this by casting actors that actually look like teenagers. Not only do they look the right age, but they also act like typical teenagers, graciously avoiding the usual Hollywood urge to sexualize or objectify any and all female characters involved in sex. And it makes sense that these girls aren’t objectified, because we spend a great deal of the film with their parents, who still see them as the little girls they raised.

As they prepare to graduate from high school, three lifelong friends make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. Julie (Kathryn Newton) is the one to come up with the idea, as she is in a committed relationship with a boyfriend she cares about deeply. But Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) agrees to the pact because she just wants to get it over with, and picks the first random guy that she sees to take as her date. Sam (Gideon Adlon) goes along with the pact and finds a male date, despite secretly hiding her true sexuality from friends and family alike.

Friends since childhood, the parents of these three girls are also close, especially Julie’s mother, Lisa (Leslie Mann), Kayla’s father, Mitchell (John Cena), and Sam’s father, Hunter (Ike Barinholtz). These three are together when their daughters go off to prom together and also when they accidentally find out about the sex pact. Countering the realistic way that the teenage relationships are handled is the over-the-top slapstick hijinks of these three parents as they unsuccessfully attempt to track their daughters down before the pact is complete.

As much as I appreciate the modern twist on an old genre convention, it is the subtlety of Blockers which makes it a winning film. Sure, there is some discussion about the gender differences when it comes to sexuality, but the film knows better than to bash the audience over the head with agenda-driven dialogue. There is just enough to make the film relevant without weighing it down, allowing a balance in the views and variety in characters and their motivations.

The Blu-ray release of Blockers also comes with a DVD and a digital copy of the film. The special features on the actual disc include a handful of additional footage. There are only three deleted scenes, and all three are less than three minutes long all together. More entertaining is the alternate lines and the gag reel, and there is far more of this extra footage. There are also four behind-the-scenes/promotional featurettes, although more amusing are two additional ones that are a bit more creative. One has John Cena showing a prom survival kit for parents, and the other has Ike Barinholtz giving a brief history of sex. The final extra is a commentary track with director Kay Cannon.

Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10
Historical Significance:  7/10
Special Features: 7.5/10

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