Blockers (film)

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Blockers
Blockers (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKay Cannon
Produced by
Written by
  • Brian Kehoe
  • Jim Kehoe
Starring
Music byMateo Messina
CinematographyRuss Alsobrook
Edited byStacey Schroeder
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Pictures[1]
Release date
  • March 10, 2018 (2018-03-10) (SXSW)
  • April 6, 2018 (2018-04-06) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$21 million[2]
Box office$94 million[3]

Blockers is a 2018 American sex comedy film directed by Kay Cannon in her directorial debut and written by Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe. It stars Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena as a trio of parents who try to stop their respective daughters (Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon, and Geraldine Viswanathan) from losing their virginity on prom night. The title of the film is a reference to the act of "cockblocking", with marketing materials displaying a rooster (also known as a cock) above the title.

The film premiered at South by Southwest on March 10, 2018,[4] and was theatrically released in the United States on April 6, 2018, by Universal Pictures. It grossed $94 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for its "humor and performances", as well as for "intelligence and empathy" not often found in the genre.[5][6]

Plot[edit]

Single mother Lisa Decker drops off her young daughter, Julie, for her first day of kindergarten. She watches on as Julie is joined by two other girls, Kayla and Sam. Kayla's dad Mitchell and Sam's dad Hunter introduce themselves and become close friends after seeing the bond between their children.

Twelve years later, Julie shares with Kayla and Sam that she plans to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Austin at prom. Kayla pledges to do so as well, though on a casual basis with her lab partner, Connor. Sam, a closeted lesbian, joins the pact to cement the bond with her two best friends. She goes to prom with the harmless Chad.

Lisa sets up a pre-party for the parents and kids. The girls then head to the prom, texting each other about their sex pact. The three parents hear Julie's laptop and intercept the messages. Hunter deciphers their emoji codes, and they realize the girls' pact. Lisa and Mitchell rush to stop their daughters, but Hunter tries to stop them. Hunter shares his intuition that Sam is gay, but at the first party, he sees her force herself to kiss Chad. Wanting to protect Sam from doing something she doesn't want to do, he joins Lisa and Mitchell's crusade.

Having been told that the after-party would be at Austin's house, the parents go there. Instead, they find Austin's parents Ron and Cathy engaging in sex games. After some awkward moments, Ron reveals that the after-party is at a lake house, but refuses to give the address. The trio realizes that Mitchell's wife Marcie may have it, and go back to his house. Against Marcie's wishes, who defends their daughter's rights, they retrieve the address.

As they follow the girls from party to party, it becomes clear that each parent has their own motivation. Mitchell is overprotective and in denial over his daughter growing up. Hunter feels guilty for neglecting Sam during his bitter separation from her mother, who cheated on him. Lisa is struggling to let go of her only child and is offended by Julie's plans to go to distant UCLA.

Knowing that Austin and Ron have been texting, the parents return to Ron's house, intending to grab his phone. After barging in on the couple playing a blindfold sex game, Hunter is forced to go along with it as Mitchell grabs the phone, which reveals that the girls are at a hotel.

At the hotel, a drunk Sam goes to bed with Chad but decides she does not want to have sex, though she does give him a handjob. Kayla and Connor go off together, but she also changes her mind upon realizing her flippant attitude to her virginity, and they limit their sex to Connor performing cunnilingus for Kayla.

When Mitch finds Kayla with Connor, she is initially furious, but ultimately appeased by her father's good intentions. Hunter finds Sam and they also share a tender moment, where he reveals that a good night was the best he could give her in return for his neglect. After, Sam officially comes out to her father, who is deeply moved at being the first person she told. Lisa sneaks into Julie and Austin's room and, realizing how much the two clearly love each other, she sneaks unnoticed, leaving the two alone.

The three adults acknowledge that their own friendships have been strengthened. Their daughters are also closer, with Sam coming out to them, to which Julie and Kayla are extremely supportive. They leave Sam with her crush, Angelica, who shares a romantic kiss with her.

Three months later, Sam and Kayla drive with Julie to California. As they drive away, Lisa starts receiving the girl's group text, filled with plans to get drugs and have condom-less sex. As the three parents run for the car, the girls text that it was a prank, and a final "I love you" to them.

In a mid-credits scene, Mitchell and Marcie are playing the blindfold sex game that Austin's parents had been playing earlier – only to be found by a shocked Kayla.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Principal photography on the film began on May 2, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia.[7][8] During filming, Ike Barinholtz suffered a neck injury while performing a falling stunt.[9][10]

Release[edit]

Blockers was released by Universal Pictures on April 6, 2018.[1][3] The film was originally produced under the name The Pact, referring to the girls' agreement to lose their virginity.[8]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Blockers grossed $60.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $33.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $94 million, against a production budget of $21 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, Blockers was released alongside A Quiet Place, Chappaquiddick and The Miracle Season, and was projected to gross $16–20 million from 3,379 theaters in its opening weekend.[11] The film made $7.8 million on its first day (including $1.5 million from Thursday night previews). It went on to debut to $20.6 million, finishing third, behind A Quiet Place ($50 million) and Ready Player One ($25.1 million).[12] In its second weekend the film dropped 47.6% to $10.8 million, finishing fourth.[13]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 83% based on 224 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Blockers puts a gender-swapped spin on the teen sex comedy – one elevated by strong performances, a smartly funny script, and a surprisingly enlightened perspective."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 69 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[15] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it a 76% overall positive score.[12]

Brian Lowry of CNN.com found that "the movie gets by on sheer energy" and praised director Kay Cannon for creating "some truly blue sequences and sight gags that yield explosive laughs [and] largely compensate for the arid patches, as do the warm/fuzzy exchanges, which smartly play off the idea of raising your children and then trusting them enough to let go."[16]

Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the film 2 1/2 stars, saying that it is "the kind of comedy one could stumble upon late at night on HBO and thoroughly enjoy, but it strains under the weight of its tonal inconsistencies in a movie theater."[17]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two out of four stars, giving credit to the cast but saying they were not given much to do:

Despite the best efforts of reliable comedic veterans Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz, not to mention a game and always likable John Cena...Blockers becomes less interesting and less funny as the onscreen hijinks grow more outlandish and stupid and demeaning and crotch-oriented.[18]

Describing Blockers as "absurd and funny", Amy Nicholson of Uproxx favorably compared screenwriters Brian and Jim Kehoe to American Pie directors Chris and Paul Weitz as "brothers trying to do right by the sexual politics of the time."[19]

Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out gave the film four out of five stars, calling it "a wonderfully crude film... in which the overall vibe is sweet" and a "hilarious, parents'-eye view of teenage sexuality."[20]

Describing Blockers as "highly dubious and not very funny," Adam Graham of The Detroit News stated that the film "awkwardly tries to balance gross-out gags with tender, warm-and-fuzzy moments. It's a tough trick to pull off, and Blockers gets stuffed at every turn."[21]

David Sims of The Atlantic stated that "Blockers works because of the time it invests in its teenaged characters. Each is a delight, particularly the supremely chilled-out Kayla (who decides to lose her virginity largely on a whim) and the more introverted Sam (who knows she’s gay but hasn’t quite figured out how to tell her friends and family)."[22]

Praising the themes of the film, Ann Hornaday from The Washington Post wrote:

The underlying values of "Blockers" are refreshingly healthy and affirming, proclaimed not only by Kayla's pointedly levelheaded mom (Sarayu Blue)—in a fiery speech about the double standards and the dubious politics of policing female sexuality—but by the girls themselves.[23]

Accolades[edit]

In 2019, the film was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release. Blockers was among 20 of 2018's 100 highest-grossing films awarded The ReFrame Stamp for recognition in "standout, gender-balanced" films, and also one out of four Stamp recipients with a female director.[24]

Music[edit]

The film features the hit single "Love Myself" by Hailee Steinfeld, which appears twice in the film. In her review of Blockers, Insider writer Kim Renfro wrote "The anthem carried throughout the movie, Hailee Steinfeld's 'Love Myself,' drives the message home: 'I love me, gonna love myself, no I don't need anybody else.'"[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Film releases". Variety Insight. Variety Media. Archived from the original on July 13, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Lang, Brent; Rubin, Rebecca (March 27, 2018). "'Blockers,' 'A Quiet Place' Bet SXSW Buzz Equals Big Box Office". Variety. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Blockers (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (January 31, 2018). "SXSW Film Festival Lineup Unveiled, John Krasinski's 'A Quiet Place' Set as Opener". Variety. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on February 2, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Giles, Jeff (April 5, 2018). "A Quiet Place and Blockers Are Certified Fresh". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  6. ^ TV News Desk (April 3, 2018). "Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On BLOCKERS". Broadway World. Wisdom Digital Media. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 2, 2017). "June Diane Raphael, Hannibal Buress & Sarayu Blue Enlist In 'The Pact'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on May 4, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Hensley, Ellie (March 23, 2017). "Universal's "The Pact" to shoot in Atlanta". Atlanta Business Chronicle. American City Business Journals. Archived from the original on June 11, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  9. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (July 26, 2017). "Mindy Project Star Ike Barinholtz Recovering From Broken Neck After Movie Stunt Accident". Variety Magazine. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  10. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth (July 26, 2017). "The Mindy Project Star Ike Barinholtz Is Recovering from a Broken Neck After 'Scary' Fall During Movie Stunt". People Magazine. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (April 3, 2018). "'A Quiet Place' Looks to Make Noise at Weekend Box Office". Variety. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on April 4, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  12. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 8, 2018). "'A Quiet Place' Screams To $50M+ Opening; 'Blockers' Breaks Through To $21M+ – Early Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on April 8, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 15, 2018). "The Rock Rebounds: 'Rampage' Shushes 'A Quiet Place' With $34M+ No. 1 Opening". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  14. ^ "Blockers (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on November 28, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "Blockers Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on April 3, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  16. ^ Lowry, Brian (April 8, 2018). "'Blockers' combines heart, raunch in winning sex comedy". CNN. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  17. ^ Tallerico, Brian (April 6, 2018). "Blockers". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  18. ^ Roeper, Richard (April 5, 2018). "In teen sex comedy 'Blockers,' the dirtier the antics, the dumber the jokes". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on April 8, 2018. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  19. ^ Nicholson, Amy (April 6, 2018). "Like 'American Pie' Before It, The Absurd And Funny 'Blockers' Tries To Do Right By The Sexual Politics Of Its Time". Uproxx. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  20. ^ Rothkopf, Joshua (April 5, 2018). "Blockers". Time Out. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  21. ^ Graham, Adam (April 6, 2018). "Review: Lame jokes stifle raunchy 'Blockers'". The Detroit News. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on April 7, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  22. ^ Sims, David (April 6, 2018). "Blockers Is an R-Rated Prom-Night Comedy With Heart". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  23. ^ Hornaday, Ann (April 4, 2018). "'Blockers': Amid all the gross-out humor, some moments of inspired lunacy". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Archived from the original on April 9, 2018.
  24. ^ Sun, Rebecca (March 6, 2019). "ReFrame Stamp Awarded to 29 Movies in 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  25. ^ Renfro, Kim (April 4, 2018). "REVIEW: 'Blockers' is a raunchy, must-see comedy with a rare feminist message". Insider. Archived from the original on April 8, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2018.

External links[edit]