Ah spring, the time when a young manâ€™s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love and cantankerous critics turn to a slew of films centered on prom night and a group of young ones who are either trying to find true romance or lose their virginities, depending on the rating and the age of the target audience. The raunchy new comedy â€śBlockersâ€ť is definitely of the latter category as it follows three lifelong friends who make a pact to lose their virginities on the night of their senior prom a la â€śAmerican Pie.â€ťThe twist this time around is that the friends are girls and their reasons for going forth with the plan involve more than just simple gratificationâ€”Julie (Kathryn Newton) wants to have the perfect experience with the guy that she is in love with, Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) wants to get it over with and Sam (Gideon Adlon) wants to do it but is increasingly uncertain whether she wants to do it with the goofball guy taking her to prom or the super-cute lesbian (Ramona Young) who has been inspiring increasingly confusing thoughts. Alas, as they set about their best laid plans, so to speak, their intentions are discovered by Julieâ€™s overprotective mom (Leslie Mann), Kaylaâ€™s equally neurotic dad and Samâ€™s long-absent dad (Ike Barinholtz) and they set off in pursuit in order to save their daughters from themselves, a quest that leads to such wackiness as an exploding car, a butt-chugging contest, mild electrocution and two separate encounters with a kinky neighbor couple (Gary Cole and Gina Gershon).
Having seen the filmâ€™s remarkably awful trailers, I went into â€śBlockersâ€ť with more than the usual amount of trepidations but while the movie is not what I would comfortably refer to as â€śgoodâ€ť or â€śconsistently funny,â€ť it is at least somewhat better than the previews suggest. The best scenes are the ones involving the girls themselvesâ€”this material is bright and funny and interesting in the way that it shifts away from a male-centered point-of-view to a female perspective that is friendlier, more inclusive and refreshingly positive in its take on women taking control of their own sexual agency. These scenes are so well done and well performed by the younger cast members that I was even willing to forgive the inevitable vomiting sequence but unfortunately, there are not enough scenes of this sort on display and entirely too many of the dopey parents running around after them in scenes that are either centered around broad slapstick or even broader â€śemotional momentsâ€ť that are too hamfisted for their own good. Here, the actors arenâ€™t too badâ€”Barinholtz and Cena both get some big laughs and Mann is a little less annoying than usualâ€”but they are done in by the generally weak material supplied by screenwriters Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe and debuting director Kay Cannonâ€™s occasionally crude fumblings behind the camera that end up spoiling at least a few scenes that should have worked beautifully with someone more capable at the helm.I probably laughed more than I expected to while watching â€śBlockersâ€ť but not quite enough to warrant a full recommendation, though I prefer it to a lot of the big raunchy comedies of late. It may not be the big female-driven teen sex comedy that people are crying out for in this period of time but it just might inspire someone else to go out and make it themselves.