Image from the 2018 comedy, "Blockers"

A coming-of-age comedy with an equal focus on the stories of teen besties, Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon), and their parents Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz). After the three parents discover the girls' pact to lose their virginity on prom night, they set out to put a stop to it by any means necessary.  

A Gross-out Comedy: All of the advertising around the Blockers movie points to it being a cliché mainstream American gross-out comedy, chock-full of half-arsed bodily fluid jokes that are unlikely to make you laugh more than once, if at all. And in some respects, the movie itself, unfortunately, meets the expectations set up by its advertising. The film often scrapes the bottom of the barrel in the hopes of a few extra laughs. There's an insistence on ridiculous gross-out jokes that range from something called 'butt chugging' to the obligatory projectile vomiting scene that I, personally, don't think has been funny in any movie ever. The crudest, silliest jokes in the film act as the comedy centerpieces, or the 'big' funny moments, but the subtler humor and the interesting narrative elements built around these larger ludicrous moments are far better and are handled in a way that made them so much more engaging.

With Heart: The saving grace of Blockers is that despite its gross-out comedy elements, it's actually a comedy with heart that develops engaging character arcs. Each of the teens have similar character arcs that revolve (as most coming-of-age stories do) around them working out what it means to be an adult, and the parents' arcs are a mirror to their children's, reflecting on what it means to be a parent when your child is growing up. Julie, reacting against her mother's over-protectiveness, wants independence and Lisa must learn to give up control. Mitchell has trouble letting go of the idea of his daughter as a tiny tot, and Kayla wants him to recognize that she is a smart, capable adult. By far the most satisfying character arcs come from Hunter and Sam. Hunter's trying to work his way back into his daughter's affections after they are separated by a messy divorce, while Sam is struggling with her sexuality and trying to conform to the way she thinks teenage girls should feel. These simple, but engaging character dynamics, coupled with the film's more genuinely funny moments, turns Blockers from a vapid, irritating comedy into a relatable film worth watching.

Blockers is a surprisingly heartfelt comedy
that's equal parts funny and cringe-worthy.

Watch Blockers via iTunes or Amazon