blockersChicken Blockers? Rooster Blockers? Hen Blockers? Nope. I’ve got nothing. It’s obviously far too sophisticated for the likes of me. Kinda like those which will fill first puzzles or those memes that rely on no one remembering the order of operations. I guess I’ll have to remain in the dark.

The poster actually does the movie a disservice. I had assumed, entirely because of it, that this would be a pretty dumb, lowest common denominator experience. Maybe something that Johnny Knoxville would’ve happily put his name towards, something that someone would’ve been able to blackmail Robert De Niro into appearing in. I’m happy to put my hands up and admit that I was wrong.

Leslie Mann plays Lisa, the single mother to Julie (Kathryn Newton). Julie plans to lose her virginity to her boyfriend at the upcoming prom, which prompts her friends, Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and the orientationally-confused Samantha (Gideon Adlon), to do likewise and so #SexPact2018 is born. Once the girls and their partners are all limoed up and on their way to womanhood, thanks to an open laptop, Lisa and Kayla’s over-protective dad Mitch (John Cena) and Sam’s estranged father Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) get wind of the plans and so begins a night of chasing the girls down at the prom and various after parties in an attempt to block them and maintain their precious virginities.

It was something of an unexpected surprise to discover how well the premise is handled, and how the movie has such a good heart, almost as much as it is to see a teen sex comedy with female protagonists. To their credit, although the girls’ partners aren’t exactly awful people and are flawed, they’re flawed in ways that don’t make them sexual predators or utter deviants. Given the fact that there are FIVE WRITERS credited on this, it’s even more surprising that the end result is so warm and homely and works so well. Okay, so there’s plenty of effing and jeffing. There’s drug abuse. There’s a beer enema, which I didn’t realize was a thing. There’s a set of male testicles on view. There’s John Cena’s toosh. It earns its R rating, but it’s still charming. And it’s also hilarious.

And who’da thunk that The Wrestling would’ve produced two of my most dependable acting chops? It’s impossible to entirely dislike anything The Rock signs up to, and John Cena is fast becoming the same. But it’s non-wrestling Geraldine Viswanathan who steals the show as Mitch’s daugher. Her character is very clear in her wants and expectations and Viswanathan plays it perfectly and is utterly delightful in doing so.

The theme of three parents looking to usurp their daughters’ sexual awakening may on the surface seem slightly problematic. No such concerns were ever aired, for example, in Superbad. But in its favor, the movie challenges this throughout, through ancillary characters and ultimately the daughters themselves. It’s a complication I can’t imagine making it to the production script even five years ago.

Fowl Blockers? Poultry Blockers? Jings. Clue anyone?

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