Susan Granger’s review of “Blockers” (Universal Pictures)
Three Chicago high-school girls make a pact to lose their virginity on Prom Night, while a trio of parents band together to stop them.
Their story begins on the first day of elementary school, when the girls become instant BFFs. Fast-forward to high school, and the teenagers are still thick-as-thieves.
Julie (Kathryn Newton) is the light of her overly-clingy, single mom Lisa’s (Leslie Mann) life. Still suffering because her wise-cracking dad, Hunter (Ike Barinholtz), disappeared after cheating on her mom, sweet, bespectacled Sam (Gideon Adlon) suspects she’s gay. And athletic, adventurous Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) was raised in the image of Mitchell (John Cena), her softie/jock dad.
Before they take off for the Prom, Julie declares to Sam and Kayla that she’s planning to have sex with her longtime boyfriend Austin (Graham Phillips), filling them in on all the salient details. Her determination inspires both Sam and Kayle to plan their own deflowering.
Problem is: when Julie leaves on Prom Night, she inadvertently leaves a message app running on her laptop. Vigilant Lisa spies the somewhat bewildering, emoji-riddled group texting, which concludes with the unmistakable #sexpact2018. And she’s determined to prevent Julie from making the same mistakes she did.
Springing into ‘helicopter’ parental action, Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter anxiously embark on their own overly-protective pursuit, encountering myriad mishaps along the way.
Writer of the “Pitch Perfect” movies, Kay Cannon makes her directorial debut, working from a script by five men: brothers Brian & Jim Kehoe, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Eben Russell. With that many collaborators, it’s no wonder that the concept loses emotional grounding because there’s no consistent tone, although there are strong messages about female empowerment.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Blockers” is a sporadically bawdy 6, a sloppy, sanitized sex comedy in which the young women make their own decisions.