Parents try to stop their kids from having sex in gross-out comedy that misses mark

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In order to stop his daughter from having sex on prom night, normal suburban dad Mitchell (pumped-up pro wrestler John Cena) crashes a teen party and butt-bongs a beer.

Plausible? Not really. Funny? Not so much.

And that’s the problem with “Blockers,” a raunchy comedy that’s both highly dubious and not very funny.

“Blockers” is told from the perspective of three parents, Lisa (Leslie Mann), Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) and Mitchell (Cena). An open laptop leads to them discovering their three daughters’ plans to lose their virginity on prom night, and so those parents lose their marbles and run around town all night trying to stop them, because if they don’t act like sociopathic imbeciles, there’s no movie.

A better story lies with the three girls, played by Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon and standout Geraldine Viswanathan. Their tale amounts to a female version of “Superbad,” “American Pie” or “Losin’ It,” or any teen comedy where the protagonists are out to rid themselves of the burden of their virginity. The flip is that this time it’s the girls getting randy.

Helmed by “Pitch Perfect” screenwriter Kay Cannon in her directorial debut, “Blockers” manages to subvert several male-driven clichés of the horny teen comedy genre, and includes diversity of the racial and sexual variety. But those positives can’t overcome the trappings of the raunchy comedy that awkwardly tries to balance gross-out gags with tender, warm-and-fuzzy moments. It’s a tough trick to pull off, and “Blockers” gets stuffed at every turn.

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

‘Blockers’

GRADE: C

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

Running time: 102 minutes

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