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Blockers

Year: 2018
Production Co: Point Grey Picutres
Studio: Universal
Director: Kay Cannon
Writer: Brian Kehoe/Jim Kehoe
Cast: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Gary Cole, Gina Gershon

The distributors behind this film did a very clever thing in previewing it for crowds of tech and pop culture geeks with their fingers on the pulse at the SXSW Festival. Like them, I probably though it was going to be an edgy comedy with smarts to match laughs.

No such luck – apart from a plot device that's enough to raise an R rating in a country as prudish as America (three teen girls make a pact to lose their virginity on their upcoming prom night) – this is as straight arrow and corporate studio a comedy as there's ever been.

Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz are the girls' comic relief parents (over-protective, under-protective, etc, etc-inject-comic-hijinks-here) who get wind of the pact and decide to put a stop to it, infiltrating various parties, subjecting themselves to various humiliations, driving all over in the middle of night in various stages of panic, crashing unceremoniously through hotel lobbies, etc.

But despite it being so middle of the road as far as the set-up and payoff of gags, it doesn't even have the courage of it's stupid premise, taking the characters and story in so many weird directions it all just feels like padding because the writers couldn't stretch the idea out any more.

There are a few ham fisted moral messages about tolerance, trust, growing up and all the usual rubbish, but it's a comedy by, for and about self-interested white suburbanites who can't see how idiotic they are. It's even got that most iconic of studio comedy elements, the trailer moment – where Cena gets his arse filled up with beer.

You might guffaw once or twice, but mostly you'll hang around for one of two reasons – because (like I was) you're on a plane and can't walk out, or because you're hanging around waiting to see teenagers have sex (don't bother, internet porn is better written and funnier).

I suppose it gets marks for being about teenage girls being interested in sex rather than a group of horny teenage boys, but is that enough to make it a good movie or the jokes any good? Not even close.

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