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Movie Review

There’s just something about those moments when your kids are little. Something that makes you wish you could freeze time. Roll back the clock.

But then they grow up. And go to prom.

And while prom may not be that big a deal for most parents, it certainly is for Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter. You see, this trio met the day they sent their three little girls off to kindergarten. Now they’re about to reunite once more as their daughters get ready to head to the big dance.

But prom means that graduation is getting closer, and sometimes letting your kids go isn’t so easy.

Lisa, a codependent single mother, is having trouble letting her daughter, Julie, be her own person. She wants Julie to attend a nearby state school and come home on the weekends. Mitchell, an overprotective father, doesn’t want his "little" girl, Kayla, to grow up at all. After all, he has invested his entire life in being her “biggest fan.” And Hunter … well, Hunter has been out of the picture for a long time. After he divorced his wife, he imagined the relationship between him and his daughter, Sam, would repair itself. But it didn’t. And now he's back to make prom the best night of Sam’s life. Too bad Sam wants nothing to do with him.

As you can imagine, the kids have been feeling the pressure from their parents for quite some time. And now they’re ready to let loose with a little something they’d like to call a sex pact. Yup, they want to kiss their virginity good-bye (literally). Julie wants to pair up with her beau, Kayla’s fine with a guy she barely knows and Sam is stuck trying to decide who she wants: a guy or a girl.

Unfortunately, their secret pact isn’t as airtight as it seems: Lisa and Mitchell discover Julie’s wide-open laptop and piece together (based upon the texts displayed there) what's going on.

But ain’t no one losing her virginity this prom season, not if these parents can stop it. And they’ll do whatever it takes—and I mean whatever it takes—to make sure their daughters' virtue is protected.

[Note: Spoilers are contained in the following sections.]

Positive Elements

When Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter discover that their daughters have all made a pact to lose their virginity after prom, they instinctively seek to protect their girls from what they intuitively believe is an unwise decision. Both Lisa and Mitchell are protective parents who want the best for their daughters, and they'll go to any length to protect them (even though this unravels at the end). Lisa's desire to protect Julie is closely related to the way getting pregnant as a teen herself had life-altering consequences for her. (If only they could have held on to that persepctive, as we'll soon see.)

Mitchell is bothered when his daughter dresses innapropriately. Both Lisa and Mitchell want open communication with their children. Despite perhaps being overly emotionally dependent in some ways, Lisa loves Julie deeply and wants the best for her (though Julie often feels suffocated by her mom’s codependency).

Hunter wants to provide his daughter, Sam, with an amazing night at prom to make up for his long absence from her life. (But he really has no idea how to do this very well).

Mitchell is frustrated with Hunter for cheating on his wife, telling him that “sleeping with women that aren’t your wife isn’t a sexual preference.” Sam’s stepfather tells her a positive story about a time when he and his friends bonded over a shared experience, which he says is the bedrock of their continued friendship today.

The film tries to offer a message about gender equality, but it unfortunately gets conflated with the idea that young women should be able to misbehave as badly and brazenly when it comes to sex as young men often do.

Spiritual Content

Mitchell kicks open a hotel door to find a group of teenagers performing a séance.

Sexual Content

There is a huge push in this movie for teens to discover and experiement with sexuality, and much praise given to those who do so. Two girls kiss as do two males and various other couples. We hear numerous crude references to the male and female anatomy (by teens and adults both), as well as verbal referenes to sex, anal sex, oral sex, ejaculation and pornography.

A man is seen naked from both the front and the back. An adult woman's bare breasts are briefly visible. In this same scene, a man’s genitals are grabbed by another man. A couple has sex on a couch, which includes sexual motions and sounds; adults watch their activity from an outside window. Additionally, this couple mentions that they’re very open with their teenage son about their sex life.

A father shoves thong underwear into his mouth, thinking it’s his wife’s when it is actually his daughter's (He calls the thong “stripper underwear”). There is also a moment where he belives his daughter has a sex toy (which he finds when he looks inside of her underwear drawer), but he learns that it's actually part of her electric toothbrush.

As for the teens, there are three different outcomes to their "pact." Two teenagers are seen in bed together as they prepare to have sex. (The boy is naked but covered by blankets, and the girl is seen in her bra.) It doesn't happen, but it's implied that a different kind of sexual experience does occur. It's also implied that another couple doesn't have intercourse but does have oral sex. The third couple, we hear, does go all the way. (And there's talk about condoms before they do so.) All these activities take place at a hotel where many teens have booked rooms for similar behavior.

A young woman mentions going to Planned Parenthood for birth control (without her mother’s knowledge). Sam’s mother encourages her to have sex. Julia finds candles to be erotic. Lisa orders a cake for Julia, Sam and Kayla; when it arrives, the girls' breasts have been significantly enlarged in the picture atop the cake.

A significant plot point revolves around the fact that Sam is a lesbian. By movie's end, she comes out, kisses another gay teen girl with whom it's implied she then has her first same-sex experience, and has her homosexuality affirmed by her father and her friends.

Women wear revealing clothing, including tight dresses that bare clevage. Women are seen in their bras, underwear and lingerie. Men are seen shirtless and pantsless from the side, including quite a few shots of bare male rears.

In addition to those content specifics, Blockers' worldview when it comes to sex needs significant unpacking as well. There are a number of issues we need to address here.

The first is that premarital sex is not a loss of innocence or something intrinsically valuable, but a rite of passage—and it can also be as causal as you’d like it to be (married or unmarried, with someone you’ve just met or…you get the idea). Both Mitchell and Lisa start off with a desire to protect their daughters’ virginity, but later are talked out of this conviction by Hunter and Mitchell's wife.

The second is that both parents and teenagers aren’t sure why sex is significant at all. When Mitchell attempts to stop his daughter from having sex, she asks him, “Why is sex even bad?” To which Mitchell has no real response. Mitchell’s wife, Marcie, tells the trio that sex is the same for both men and women. She says they have no right to stop their daughters from engaging in sexual activity. She makes it very clear that there is no difference in the genders and that to assume that sex can be a different experience for men and women is a double standard.

The third is that exploring your sexuality is something to be praised. Hunter tells Mitchell and Lisa that he knows his daughter is a lesbian. Because of this, he vows to not let her have sex with a man just because she feels pressured into it. Eventually, the two have a conversation, and Hunter encourages his daughter to be brave in her sexuality—i.e., to embrace her homosexuality.

Lisa is clear at the beginning of the film that having sex, getting pregnant, and falling for the guy she was into at such a young age changed the trajectory of her life. She wants to protect her daughter from similar consequences. But after seeing that her daughter “really likes” the boy she is with, she relents.

Violent Content

A teenage boy breaks his tooth while breakdancing, and blood runs down his lips. Hunter gets kicked in the head. Another teenage boy is thrown against a wall. A car is driven into a ditch and then explodes. Mitchell gives his daughter a pocket knife and instructs her on how to use it if her date gets too close. Someone mentions that she doesn't bomb abortion clinics.

A limo driver tells a group of teenage girls to be careful as they stick their heads outside the sunroof, because he doesn’t want anyone to be decapitated or to have any more “dead bodies” on his hands. As Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter follow a limo, they drive recklessly as they follow the “what would Vin Diesel do” rule. Hunter mentions that his ex-wife hit him in public, humiliating him.

Crude or Profane Language

We hear more than 70 f-words, some paired with "mother," and about 40 s-words. God’s name is misused nine times, while Jesus’ name is misused twice. Other profanities include more than 15 uses of “h---,” almost 10 uses of “d--n," as well us uses of "b--ch" and “a--.” Crude slang is used to describe both the male and female anatomy.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Parents try to decode their children’s text messages, where a snowflake emoji represents cocaine, trees represent marijuana and a needle represents heroin. A teenage drug dealer distributes food laced with numerous illicit substances, including Xanax, acid and marijuana.

Teenagers smoke marijuana and vape (with a liquid hash mixture), use a bong and talk about getting high. Parents and teenagers alike drink beer, hard liquor, champagne and take shots. A dad mentions having received two DUIs.

Additionally, one scene includes two guys who enter a “butt chugging” competition. It involves alcohol a tube and bare backsides. I'll leave it at that.

Other Negative Elements

There's a reference to buying drugs on the dark web. After drinking to excess, a teenager girl vomits on her prom date, causing a chain reaction as all the others in the limo begin throwing up as well—as does the driver. Hunter is repeatedly rude to both his ex-wife and her new husband.

In one scene, Mitchell and Hunter break into a couple’s home to steal their cell phone. Julie also hides an acceptance letter from her mother, later saying that she wants to be as far away as possible from her.

Conclusion

If you think of Seth Rogan-produced movies like Sausage Party, Neighbors and Knocked Up, you basically have the recipe for Blockers. Only this time, it’s a teen sex comedy.

Then again, you could just look at posters for this film, where you'll see the line, “Parents can be such … ” followed by a picture of a rooster and the word “Blockers.” The translation, if you will, means that parents are notorious for blocking their children from having sex.

Which is a bad thing? Well, at the beginning of the film it doesn't seem that way at all. In fact, Lisa and Mitchell don’t want their daughters to lose their virginity. But along the way, they run into others who tell them that sex is not that big a deal. And, really, their teenage daughters should be able to have sex as often as they want. With whomever, however, whenever. Without their parents knowing or caring.

Eventually, the parents all collapse under the weight of this worldview. They decide that their daughters have the maturity and the right to make their own sexual decisions. After all, who are they to lead these teens in the right direction? They’re only their parents, for crying out loud. Sadly, they're just as confused as the teens.

What a mess. From the language, to the graphic nudity to the endless litany of sexual references, it’s all just crazy excess. And just when you think you’ve heard and seen enough, you’re bombarded by a bunch of clueless parents who don’t know how to guide their children with regard to the significant subject of sexuality.

If I’m being honest, I’d like to block this one from memory.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Comedy

Author

Cast

Leslie Mann as Lisa; John Cena as Mitchell; Kathryn Newton as Julie; Ike Barinholtz as Hunter; Gina Gershon as Austin’s mom; Geraldine Viswanathan as Kayla; Miles Robbins as Connor; Gary Cole as Austin’s dad; Graham Phillips as Austin; Gideon Adlon as Sam; Colton Dunn as Frank; June Diane Raphael as Sam’s mom; Sarayu Blue as Marcie; Jimmy Bellinger as Chad; Ramona Young as Angelica;

Director

Kay Cannon ( )

Distributor

Universal Pictures

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

April 6, 2018

On Video

July 3, 2018

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
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Plugged In Content Warning

This Plugged In review contains information about graphic sexual or violent content. It is not suitable for all ages. Reader discretion is advised.
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