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Mediocre 'Blockers' offers some good laughs

John Cena, Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon in “Blockers.”

By GEORGE M. THOMAS - Tribune News Service

Parents won’t have difficulty understanding the angst the three leads in “Blockers” go through as they do everything they can to ensure their daughters’ well-being.

It’s just difficult to have any sympathy for the methods behind their madness, even if Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (former wrestler John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) have their hearts in the right spots.

Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon), their respective offspring, are high school seniors set to leave that part of their lives behind with a bang. For them, that means losing their virginity.

Having grown up together, the friends did everything together and despite the fact Julie is the only one of the three who is in any semblance of a committed relationship, they want to share this one as well.

They resolve that the night of their prom will be the time.

Or so they think.

Through a convoluted set of circumstances, their parents get wind of their plans and immediately become unhinged and turn into stalkers, because it’s perfectly normal for parents to want to control the sexual choices of their young adult children.

Actually, it’s downright creepy. But that doesn’t mean that “Blockers” (you’ll have to figure out what the full title of the movie is) doesn’t possess some charms. They’re vulgar, so “charms” may not be the correct word.

However, some of them – including a beer-chugging contest – induce guilty, gut-busting laughter.

And lest anyone think the sexual situations here are limited to teens, think again. One of the funniest moments involves a married couple.

However, those moments don’t come nearly enough.

It’s not difficult to grasp the overriding message from screenwriters Brian and Jim Kehoe and director Kay Cannon, who is making her feature film directing debut.

They explicitly come at the double standard that surrounds sexuality and gender in this country, and in some respects do so effectively.

Another aspect to recommend: Cena, the built-like-a-mountain former wrestler, appears to be following the Dwayne Johnson path to success in films. As Mitchell, he is both a lunkhead and likable dad, and extremely convincing showing both faces.

Together, however, that isn’t enough to lift “Blockers” beyond mediocre.

– Akron Beacon Journal 

‘BLOCKERS’

Cast: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz

Directed by: Kay Cannon

Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content, and language throughout, drug content, teen partying, and some graphic nudity.