Blockers (Full Review)

Every parent wants their child to obey, but also feel comfortable enough to confide and be truthful once they’re older. Every high school kid wants nurturing parents who will still give them the freedom to venture out and learn their own lessons. This universal dichotomy is the framework for Blockers, a movie that manages to blend just enough family endearment with its raunchy blend of comedy.

Blockers_(film)Kay Cannon, writer of the Pitch Perfect movies, makes her directorial debut in this story about a trio of parents hell bent on keeping their daughters from losing their virginities after they learn of a Prom night sex pact. Lisa (Leslie Mann) is a single mother whose afraid that her daughter (Kathryn Newton) will go far away for college and make the same mistakes she did. Mitchell (John Cena) is happily married with a newborn child but is afraid his oldest daughter (Geraldine Viswanathan) is going to sleep with a student known for cooking up drugs. Then there’s Hunter (Ike Barinholtz), a down on his luck divorcee who just wants back into his daughter’s (Gideon Adlon) life.

There is a moment where multiple characters projectile vomit, a scene where John Cena’s Mitchell has beer poured down his rectum, and gratuitous sex jokes a plenty. But Blockers actually works best when it isn’t being raunchy and just feeds off of the surprisingly fluid chemistry of its lead actors. John Cena is hilarious every time he speaks, owning the role like he’s back in Wrestlemania. And while Leslie Mann has portrayed manic mother’s seemingly a million times, here her knack for playing vulnerable OCD characters brings the film’s overarching theme home better than anyone else.

The surprising standout in Blockers, however, goes to MADtv alum Ike Barinholtz. He delivers funny, yet timely dialogue and physical humor while also managing to give a heavy dose of heart whenever the story focuses his way. Along with Cena, Mann, and a cast of youngsters whose characters all hold relevant narratives, this film manages to make its many outrageous scenarios believable simply because we care about the folks involved. So even though there aren’t a ton of truly side splitting moments, the hearty chuckles will come often enough to keep you entertained while the endearing tone does the rest to make Blockers memorable.

FINAL GRADE: B

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Snatched (Full Review)

Amy Schumer can be an acquired taste. Her stand ups are hit or miss, but her last film, Trainwreck was a charming and enjoyable romantic comedy thanks to solid help from Bill Hader and, oddly enough, Lebron James. In her new film, Schumer enlists the help of long time American sweetheart Goldie Hawn.

Snatched2017posterSnatched stars Schumer as Emily, a lazy middle aged woman who is justifiably dumped by her boyfriend and fired from her retail job in the same day. Instead of canceling a romantic getaway out of the country, she decides to take her sweet, but annoying mother (Hawn).  On their trip, Emily’s carelessness naivety leads to the two being kidnapped by a Columbian Drug lord (Oscar Jaenada).

There are certainly some good laughs to be had in spurts and it’s always good when those moments come in scenes that aren’t in the trailers, but Snatched ultimately suffers from almost trying too hard. It works best when its able to play off of Goldie Hawn’s ditsy charm and Schumer’s raunchiness. Too often, though, the film gets overtly wacky. From Ike Barinholtz’s over the top portrayal of Emily’s nerdy mama’s boy brother to a nonsensical and ill fitting scene where an alien-like warm has to be extracted from Schumer’s mouth, the movie doesn’t seem to know what kind of comedy it wants to be.

Christopher Meloni, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Cusack pop in with some fairly comedic supporting roles, but none of them are on screen long enough to fully compensate for the movie’s overall cartoonish tone. If you aren’t a fan of Amy Schumer, this film won’t come close to winning you over, but if you are, Snatched won’t be a bad viewing even if you do forget about it existing in a year or two.

FINAL GRADE: C