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Blockers (2018)

Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/3/2018

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/29/2018

The raunchy teenage sex comedy has been around for decades, and while the popularity of these films ebbs and flows, they still pop up every now and then. While these movies always feature female characters, it seems that most of them focus on the boys. Movies like Porky's, Revenge of the Nerds, American Pie, and Superbad have been decidedly male-centric, as they follow the males on their quest for sex. But, what about the girls? It's the 21st Century, shouldn't there be a movie like this which focuses on female characters? With Blockers, we finally get an answer to this question and that answer is...sort of.

Blockers introduces us to Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Sam (Gideon Adlon), who have been friends since kindergarten. Now, seniors in high school, they are excited for their prom. Julie has decided that she wants to have sex with her boyfriend on prom night. Kayla likes the sound of this idea, and insists that she will as well. Sam, who has been hiding a secret, reluctantly chimes in as well. When prom night arrives, Julie's mother, Lisa (Leslie Mann), accidentally sees the girl's group text, which describes their prom sex pact. She shares this information with Kayla's dad, Mitchell (John Cena), and Sam's father, Hunter (Ike Barinholtz). Together, they make their own pact to find the girls and stop them.

With Blockers, we have finally have a studio movie which is brave enough to show teenage girls who are determined to have sex. And then it places its focus squarely on their parents. Yes, it's the girls' actions which serve as the catalyst for the story, and they appear consistently throughout the film, but the primary emphasis is on Lisa, Mitchell, and Hunter. This creates two big issues. First, is anyone jonesing to watch a comedy about concerned parents? The movie takes what, in the real world, would be a serious situation (Maybe. More on that in a moment.) and turns it into a series of scenes involving slapstick comedy and misunderstandings. Secondly, it creates a political question, which is brought up in the movie itself -- If their children were boys, would the parents be as concerned? If you can't buy the premise that the parents should risk life and limb to stop their girls from having sex, then Blockers won't engage you at all. Aside from the focus on the girls, the movie doesn't bring anything new to the table. If does include one of my favorite cliches, which is where a teen has applied to college without their parents' knowledge and must then hide the acceptance letter. Has this ever happened in real life?

But, there is also a bigger problem with the movie -- it isn't very funny. Yes, the movie is apparently supposed to have some sort of bigger message about female empowerment and family, but this is ostensibly a comedy, but the laughs are few and far between. The "butt-chugging" scene is clearly meant to be the show-stopping comedy core of the movie, but it falls completely flat. As with this scene, most of the raunchy jokes don't work and the movie rarely tries to be clever. As noted above, the movie doesn't try to do anything new and that includes the comedy front as well. A character is about to be caught sneaking in a room, so they hide under the bed. Aside from every single sitcom ever, where have we seen that? The only laughs here come from Barinholtz, who is essentially playing a jerkier version of his character from The Mindy Project. Also, one must note that John Cena certainly throws himself into the role, unconcerned of tarnishing his tough guy image.

Blockers was directed by Kay Cannon, here making her debut behind the camera after writing the movies in the Pitch Perfect series. And while it's great to see another woman getting a shot at helming a studio movie, there's some sort of tragic irony that this movie about girls and sex was written by two men. This perfectly captures the confusion found in this movie. Blockers has an odd central premise, but one which could have yielded a fun movie if it had focused more on the girls and if the girls had been more appealing. Instead, we have a movie which offers a lot of missed opportunities. But, it does bring us yet another teenage party which is unrealistically elaborate. Those are my favorite.

Blockers rightly questions the man-bun on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc carries an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no obvious grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look excellent, as the film features many bold tones, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth works well, as does the level of detail, as the image is never soft. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The in-film music provides notable subwoofer effects. The prom and hotel crowd scenes deliver obvious surround sound and stereo effects, as they highlight sounds coming from off-screen. The front-channel effects show good separation.

The Blockers Blu-ray Disc contains a whole party full of extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Kay Cannon. The Disc contains three DELETED SCENES which run about 3 minutes. There's nothing new here, but there is one good line. "Gag Reel" (3 minutes) and "Line-O-Rama" (7 minutes) delivers outtakes and alternate takes from scenes seen in the film. (And also allow us to see that the shooting title was "The Pact".) "Rescue Mission" (5 minutes) has the cast and creative team discussing the plot and the key traits of the characters. "Prom Night" (7 minutes) allows those involved in the film to talk about the significance of going to the prom and takes us on-set for the prom scenes and also offers a look at the costuming. "The History of Sex with Ike Barinholtz" (2 minutes) has the actor rambling about sex through the ages, complete with odd animation. "John Cena's Prom Survival Kit for Parents" (3 minutes) literally has Cena unpacking a bag full of supplies. "Chug! Chug! Chug!" (3 minutes) offers a closer look at what, again, is supposed to be the film's showstopper. "Pule-A-Palooza" (2 minutes) shows us how they shot the mass vomit scene. Yay!

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long