There is a moment in the new film BLOCKERS where you can visualize what the comedy could have been if it wanted to be smarter. Spying mother Lisa (Leslie Mann) finds herself stuck under the hotel bed where her daughter Julie (Kathryn Newton) is about to loses her virginity to her boyfriend Austin (Graham Phillips). Rather than listen to their lovemaking, God forbid, the embarrassed parent sneaks out in a contorted and sly way that feels like the best of a Blake Edwards comedy. She deftly hides behind the drapes, mildly electrocutes herself while managing to crouch behind the TV, as well as somersaults, rolls, and tiptoes past other furniture to escape out the hotel door. It is such sophisticated physical comedy, masterfully performed by Mann that it makes you wish the rest of BLOCKERS was just as smart.
As it stands, BLOCKERS is clever, but not nearly by half. It has a great premise in three panicked parents doing their best to keep their respective daughters from blithely losing their virginity after making a pact at prom. The film also has a strong cast with the previously mentioned talents, not to mention John Cena and Ike Barinholtz as the other two concerned adults, as well as younger stars Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon, Miles Robbins, and Jimmy Bellinger. The LOL script by Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe certainly has its pulse on many of the cultural inanities at play in our modern times including the hidden meaning of text emoji’s, teenage slang, and the variety of recreational drugs at society’s disposal. They also have a very game and nude Gary Cole playing a naughty sex scene with Gina Gershon, which is the comedic highlight of the film. So, why isn’t it better?