dir Kay Cannon
scr Brian Kehoe, Jim Kehoe, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, Eben Russell, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
prd Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver, Chris Cowles, Chris Fenton, Jon Hurwitz, Nathan Kahane
with Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon, Geraldine Viswanathan, Graham Phillips, Jimmy Bellinger, Miles Robbins, Ramona Young, Hannibal Buress, June Diane Raphael, Gary Cole, Gina Gershon
release UK 30.Mar.18, US 6.Apr.18
18/US Universal 1h42
Girls gone wild: Adlon, Newton and Viswanathan

mann barinholtz cena
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Blockers A genuinely funny comedy with a terrific ensemble, this is a superb directing debut for Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon, a continuation of her themes about strong, hilarious women who have very few boundaries. The script ties itself in knots trying to be both judgmental and open-minded at the same time, and the plot is never surprising, but each scene makes us laugh.

When three parents discover that their 18-year-old daughters have made a pact to lose their virginity at their prom, they make a pact to stop them. Single mum Lisa (Mann) worries that her smart daughter Julie (Newton) is making the same mistake she did. Dopey absent dad Hunter (Barinholtz) fears his questioning daughter Sam (Adlon) has picked the wrong partner. And sensitive meathead Mitchell (Cena) thinks his athletic daughter Kayla (Viswanathan) doesn't know what she's got herself into. As the parents pursue their kids from party to party, the night spirals increasingly out of control.

These central figures are surrounded by superb side characters, including the three boys (Phillips, Bellinger and Robbins) in question, plus a variety of spouses, exes and other parents. The script, which was written by an army, gives each of these people a vivid comedic place in the story, with riotous dialog, corny slapstick and of course an expected swell of sentimentality in the final act. So even if the narrative is feeble, the characters are entertaining.

Mann shines as an insecure mother who oversteps her concern, leading to a show-stopping sequence of acrobatic clowning. Barinholtz reins in his idiotic persona as a guy who constantly says the wrong thing, but his heart is in the right place. And Cena finds surprising texture as the (ahem!) butt of verbal and physical jokes. Meanwhile, Newton, Adlon and Viswanathan play these free-spirited teens as smart, independent young women who are old enough to experience everything life has to throw at them.

Of course, this isn't actually about sex; it's about protected children finding their independence. And with such vivid characters, the comedy is grounded in quite a few powerful themes, including a wide range of sexuality that actually has a bearing on the story, even when it's played for laughs. It's refreshing to see a film that acknowledges how difficult it is to let kids grow up, and then celebrates their maturity in ways male-based teen comedies never do. So it's wild and crazy, and also timely.

cert 15 themes, language, sexuality 22.Mar.18

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