Blockers – Blu-ray Review

“This is our last big night together.”


Comedy is an interesting genre for film. It rarely gets award-worthy attention when it’s in its purest form, yet for what it does, offers some of the most emotional complexity you can find than in some psychological thrillers. That’s why rare gems of the genre shine so brightly, such as 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou?, 1964’s Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, or 1977’s Annie Hall.

As the 21st century rolled in, comedy films began to lean towards a younger audience, emulating high school scenarios, reviving the John Hughes formula mixed with more attitude…and sex. Mostly sex. The trend continued to evolve from films such as 1993’s Dazed and Confused and 1999’s American Pie, to 2010’s Easy A and 2015’s The Duff. Now a new contender has made its way into the fold, as new director Kay Cannon throws her hat into the ring of high school comedies, with her comedic entry Blockers. How does it fare amidst a struggling genre? Does it add or detract from the evolution of high school comedies?

When three parents stumble upon their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. Leslie Mann (The Other Woman, This Is 40), Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, Suicide Squad) and John Cena (Trainwreck, Sisters) star in Blockers, the directorial debut of Kay Cannon (writer of the Pitch Perfect series).

Let’s just be honest here: Leslie Mann can pretty much play the same character in every film she does, and it just always seems to fit. Are you a filmmaker who is looking to cast an upper class neurotic mother who takes charge of the group? There you go! She’s a natural when it comes to this type of comedy, and it definitely shows. John Cena is the standout for me, as his limited exposure in film bares little to no effect on his ability to shine. It seems as though all his experience with the WWE has really honed his ability to create the laughs, as his goofy yet over the top manic behavior is a win for me in the film.

Although the film seems to telegraph the upcoming beats, the standout performances of Cena and Mann really help to create an atmosphere of fun and silliness that translates well, even if I’m not a parent. I’m not a fan of Barinholtz’s character, where with Mann’s familiar character that works, Barinholtz tends to play a familiar role that I never connect with. Thankfully, there’s enough of the other performances that still make for a fun viewing.

Movie Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

Video

Blockers video quality is actually quite surprising, as it showcases a 1080P MPEG-4 AVC encode that delivers a solid transfer. The film’s bold and vibrant colors are a highlight with its 4K release. The strobing party lights and a colorful wardrobe help Blockers color palette range really shine throughout the film. Unfortunately, these moments of color highlights are far between each other, making it difficult to enjoy them consistently.

The film is shot mostly at night, yet still displays deep blacks, giving full details with close-up shots. Sadly there wasn’t a 4K UHD Blu-ray release, as the strengths of the vivid colors from the movie would have really been flexed. Filmed digitally on the incredible Ari Alexa cameras, Blockers boast a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, which is so great to watch at home since it gives the greatest field of vision without compromising the composition of how it is shot.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

Audio

When it comes to most films of this genre, you don’t really expect much from its audio. That’s why the film’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is a unique choice for the audio mix, as the format allows for viewers to experience a lossless digital surround sound audio format. Utilizing an 8-channel mix, the track allows everything from house party music to clear and audible dialogue with ambient noise in the background to be heard. Unfortunately, because this film deals with mostly dialogue and the scene’s front of room ambient noise, the audio mix tends to be a bit front heavy, not getting a lot of use with your surround sound system.

The Low-Frequency Effects (LFE) channel does get some decent usage in Blockers. Your subwoofers get quite a kick during some of the scenes, including the car explosion sequence, heavy music scenes, and whenever a door gets kicked in. This type of audio immersion add a lot to the overall experience, but not by much. As impressive as this is, sadly this is the fullest extent of you experience, as this genre just doesn’t call for a lot with its surround immersive audio.

Audio Rating: 3/5 Atoms

Special Features

Blockers Blu-ray contains the following special features:

• Audio commentary by director Kay Cannon
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel – The entire cast contributes to these on-set flubs.
• Line-O-Rama – The laughs continue after the take!
• Rescue Mission – Being a parent isn’t easy, as Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena make abundantly clear. Hear them and director Kay Cannon discuss parental mistakes and lessons learned. They even top it off with a good old-fashioned car explosion!
• Prom Night – Filmmakers and cast discuss how they achieved the perfect prom look and also share some of their own personal prom stories.
• The History of Sex with Ike Barinholtz – Ike Barinholtz explains the origins of human sexuality and its evolution through time.
• John Cena’s Prom Survival Kit for Parents – John Cena shows off a survival kit filled with items that will help parents survive the most stressful time of year – prom season!
• Chug! Chug! Chug! – The film introduced the world to the concept of “butt chugging.” Hear cast, crew, and butt-chugger John Cena discuss how they handled this standout scene.
• Puke-a-Palooza – One memorable scene involves copious amounts of projectile vomit. See what cast, filmmakers, and crew went through to make sure the puke was as authentic as possible.

I’m a big fan of the Special Features 0n most Blu-rays. They give a ton of information on what it took to create the film I had just seen, and provides me with an inside look of the creative process with the filmmakers. After watching the film, I was hoping that these shed some interesting light on the film. Although there was one or two that I found mildly interesting, this film’s Special Features didn’t really do anything for me.

The audio commentary lacks a bit of a conversational dynamic, since it’s solely the director. The “Deleted Scenes” amounted to about 3 minutes of footage, none of which really added to the overall story. I’m not too keen on wanting to watch how to make authentic puke, nor am I interested in the world of “butt chugging.” These features obviously play off for laughs, but with a total time of a little over 30 minutes (not including audio commentary, obviously), I was just hoping for more from this film.

Special Features Rating: 2/5 Atoms


Overall, Blockers is a great opportunity to showcase the comedic talents of John Cena and Leslie Mann, while revisiting the high school comedy genre that tends to be overlooked. Nothing ever seems to be funny while in high school, so it’s great to be able to look back and laugh at the things we used to be sprung on. This is the purpose of films like this: to be able to see how ridiculous high school was, and be able to laugh at it, despite the therapy bills because of it. The biggest crime of the Blu-ray, unfortunately, is the lack of content in its Special Features, and how much more it could’ve dug into. Despite all this, Blockers is still a fun comedy that everyone should get a chance to experience!

Overall Rating: 3/5 Atoms

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Eddie Villanueva Jr.
Eddie Villanueva Jr. 298 posts

A movie connoisseur of only the finest films, and an Encyclopod of geek and nerd knowledge. And if you know what an Encyclopod is, you're cool too!