Proving once again – especially after last year’s 'Girls Trip' and 'The Big Sick' – that comedies are the undiscovered country for expert (if not Oscar-nominated) acting, 'Blockers' gives the willowy, trembling Leslie Mann two bookends that are, without a doubt, her finest onscreen moments. In the first, she’s offering tame suggestions to her prom-bound, sex-minded daughter ('Mom, are you going to be okay?' the kid asks, concerned). In the next, the tears rain down Mann’s face like a shower with robust water pressure as she’s saying upbeat goodbyes to a child with college on the horizon.
In between those two scenes comes a wonderfully crude film (we're talking 'Superbad' levels of raunchiness), but one in which the overall vibe is sweet: kids patiently waiting for their parents to grow up. On the occasion of their daughters' big high-school dance, three over-concerned parents (Mann, Ike Barinholtz and a revelatory John Cena, a hulking, teary-eyed mess) become aware of their girls' plan to pop their cherries. Furious at this 'sex pact' – it even has its own hashtag, #SEXPACT2018 – the olds decide to mount a counteraction. (There's a clue in the fact that the movie's title once had another word before 'Blockers' that rhymed with 'clock'.)
Snappily directed by debuting director Kay Cannon (a screenwriter on the 'Pitch Perfect' trilogy and, more substantially, '30 Rock'), 'Blockers' brews a bubbling panic among the parents, invading where they shouldn’t and brandishing their concern like fake IDs. Between butt-chugging and other weird sex games, they get into more trouble than they asked for. The three kids and their respective dates aren’t as well drawn, but the film finds an unexpected path to acceptance and even maturity. Mining uptightness for all its comic potential, 'Blockers' comes down, proudly, on the side of the unblocked.