A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blockers is a raunchy comedy about three parents (John Cena, Leslie Mann, and Ike Barinholtz) who spend their teen daughters' prom night attempting to stop them from having sex. There's tons of iffy content here: Expect nearly nonstop discussions of sex/loss of virginity, a few scenes with partial and full-frontal (male) nudity, constant strong language ("f--k," "motherf----rs," "s--t," "a--hole," etc.), and lots of drug and alcohol use by teens, including overuse to the point of violent vomiting. An adult man agrees to a painful "butt chugging" contest. There's also background smoking. But despite the many crass jokes, there are also positive messages about parent-child trust, letting young adults make choices for themselves, being honest about sex/sexuality, and recognizing that even having sex with someone you care about can be a risky proposition.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
BLOCKERS follows three Midwestern parents -- single mom Lisa (Leslie Mann), intensely attached dad Mitchell (John Cena), and estranged divorced father Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) -- who follow their three daughters -- Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Sam (Gideon Adlon) -- on prom night in hopes of keeping the trio from losing their virginity. After a pre-prom get-together at Julie's house, Lisa spies on group texts that pop up on Julie's computer and quickly realizes that the three seniors, who've been best friends since kindergarten, have made a "sex pact" for prom night. Initially only Lisa, who doesn't want Julie to follow her boyfriend to college in California, and Mitchell, who doesn't like the smirky, man-bun look of Kayla's date, plan to stop the sex pact, while "cool dad" Hunter wants to stop the other two from embarrassing their kids. But eventually he joins their mission too, and the parents do increasingly risky and cringeworthy things to keep their daughters from making what they consider to be the biggest mistake of their lives.
Is it any good?
Despite its crude humor and raunchy physical comedy, this sex comedy is equal parts parents learning to let their teens grow up and teens learning to navigate grown-up decisions. At first, Blockers' premise seems pretty crass: Parents overtly obsessing about their daughters having sex for the first time. But like in the best of Judd Apatow's comedies (whose wife and protégés are involved in Blockers), the provocative jokes are cleverly mixed with heavy doses of progressive family values: strong parent-child relationships, acceptance of LGBTQ kids, older married couples who still have healthy sexual relationships, and more.
The three adult stars do the heavy lifting with the comedy, since they're the ones who have to do outrageous things to find their daughters, but the three young actresses are all charming, too. Viswanathan is particularly compelling as a no-nonsense athlete who's willing to try a lot of new experiences but ultimately realizes that while sex might not have to mean everything to her like it does for Julie, it should definitely be with someone she cares enough about to remember his last name. Cena, Mann, and Barinholtz have very different comic strengths, but they work surprisingly well together, although Cena relies mostly on his imposing physicality. Although there are a few cringeworthy gross-out gags, there are also surprisingly touching moments between parents and kids who love and respect one another, as well as between the three best friends who support and encourage one another.
Talk to your kids about ...
What are the movie's messages about the double standard between adolescent male sexuality and adolescent female sexuality? Do you think there IS a double standard?
Despite the raunchy humor, there are some positive, conversation-sparking elements to the comedy. What messages did you take away from watching?
- In theaters: April 6, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: July 3, 2018
- Cast: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena
- Director: Kay Cannon
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: High School
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: rude and sexual content, and language throughout, drug content, teen partying, and some graphic nudity
- Last updated: July 16, 2020
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