Reviews for the Easily Distracted

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:

Title: Cock Blockers

Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote:

GRANDPA: What's so unappealing about hearing your elderly father talk about sex?

Brief Plot Synopsis: Trio of parents attempt to prevent daughters from a bit of the old "how's your father?"

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 3.5 devastated Garys out of 5.

Tagline: "Teens Out to Have Fun. Parents Out to Stop It."

Better Tagline: "Smells like teen spirit. And vomit."

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: It's prom night, bitches! Good thing for lifelong friends Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Sam (Gideon Adlon), they're in a comedy and not a slasher flick. More to the point, the three have made a pact to lose their virginity that very night. This comes as unwelcome news to respective parents Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena), and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz), who are aghast at their daughters' plan and set out to stop it.

"Critical" Analysis: For being one of the newer movie genres, the teen sex comedy has also endured (often rightfully) more than its share of criticism for, among other things, its antediluvian treatment of women. The reaction to watching movies like Porky's or Revenge of the Nerds today varies from "cringeworthy" to "accessory" (there are at least three felonies committed in Nerds alone), and even recent efforts (American Pie and its sequels) hinge on the perspective of their male protagonists. How do women get equal time?

To start with, by bringing in in 30 Rock/Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon to direct a screenplay by the Harold & Kumar guys (among others) that presents the revolutionary concept that girls might be just as eager to lose their virginity as boys. More significantly, that women may actually enjoy sex as much as men (note: there is as yet no scientific basis for this assertion).

Because in a vaccuum, Blockers is hardly groundbreaking. That three high school girls should all elect to "lose it" on the same night only seems enlightened because no one has bothered to make it the central subject matter of their movie before. And in fact, Cannon still splits the narrative between the three girls' quest and the machinations of their singularly focused parents, each of whom is disconnected from the reality of the situation in his/her own unique ways.

Amd while the point of view has certainly changed, those worried a feminine touch might have lessened the vulgarity needn't fear. Blockers practically earns its "R" rating in subject matter alone, depicting high school excesses with what this parent hopes is a least some level of hyperbole. And if you're a fan of nudity, the good news is: there is some. The bad (?) news is: it's probably not who you're expecting. More on that in a bit.

Of course, nothing really matters in a comedy — "teen sex" or otherwise — if it isn't funny, and Blockers fortunately is. Refreshingly, none of the characters are above slapstick or poor choices (the parents naturally err more in that regard). It's also, improbably, an empowering one, with a overarching message about trusting your kids to make the right choices while also addressing the societal double standard that high fives a guy for getting laid and shames a girl for the same thing.

A big part of this success comes from John Cena, who seemed an unlikely comedic talent pre-Trainwreck and Sisters but has now transmogrified into a genuine delight. Largely (heh) playing against type as a sensitive super dad, Cena's Mitchell absorbs the brunt of the film's abuses (by now you're aware of the infamous butt chug) and complements Mann and Barinholtz in grand fashion.

Some of the material is admittedly well-worn (Cannon has a real affinity for folks puking), and if there are any trigger warnings required, it's for seeing Lumbergh's junk, but Blockers surprises both in the quality of its humor and the (relative) depth of its sincerity. Now someone get John Cena the lead in a comedy. Hell, he can even wear his jorts.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar