The new comedy, Blockers, from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s production company Point Grey Pictures, premiered at SXSW Film Festival to a rave audience and deservedly so.
Blockers is of course the more PG title that employs brevity to disguise what the title actually refers to. The little icon that accompanies the title suggests its full title is Rooster Blockers, but you know…the other word that ends with “-a-doodle-doo.”
Ahead of its April 6th worldwide release this John Cena and Leslie Mann vehicle relied on SXSW’s party atmosphere to launch a movie that follows in the tradition of comedy classics like Old School, Neighbors and Bridesmaids.
And I don’t know if there was something in the air, but it killed. Equal parts gross-out humor typically found in a “teen party comedy” and genuine heart, the film manages to balance the two skillfully. It helps that it was helmed by Kay Cannon in her directorial debut. The scribe gave us the Pitch Perfect trilogy, a franchise that is smart and avoids descending into kitsch.
The premise in Blockers is simple. It follows the story of three parents (Cena, Mann and Ike Barinholtz) who with their outdated sense of morals set out on a mission to stop their teenage daughters from having sex on prom night.
It all starts with the parents discovering the teens’ text message conversation and proceeding to break their emoji-coded conversation replete with eggplants, index fingers and doughnuts. If you don’t know what those refer to, then you would be one of the parents in this scenario.
Cena, who’s already shown off his comedic chops in scene-stealing turns in movies like Trainwreck and Sisters, is on his A-game here. Sure he’s not going to win any Oscars for the scene where he chugs beer through an orifice that is better left unmentioned, but the scene still elicited uproarious laughter from the always-game SXSW crowd.
Mann and Barinholtz deliver as always, but it’s the young actresses that play the daughters that update the film past the “damsel in distress” tropes of 80s prom movies. Kathryn Newton and friends bring a gravitas to their roles without selling teen intelligence down the river.
The film is not afraid to allow the young women at the center of its story to take control instead of wistfully pining after the coolest jock at school. I’m sure it helps that its director is female and so brings the right perspective to the piece.
If its reception at SXSW is any sign, the movie should play well in wide release.
(Censored) Blockers will hit theaters everywhere on April 6th.