Sunday, July 1, 2018

Video review: "Blockers"

“Blockers” is the sort of movie that a screenwriter brings into a pitch meeting with a studio executive as their third option. They’ve got their wish concept, their safe concept and their backup concept. All they want is for a concept to get a go-ahead to be turned into a script. If the first two strike out, the “here goes” idea gets dusted off, probably something they noodled with but never fleshed out.

Here’s my guess how the pitch meeting went for “Blockers”:

Writer (very nervous now): “OK, so we’ll put a pin in the gay vampires musical… what about a sex comedy about teens making a pact to lose their virginity, like ‘Superbad,’ but instead of awkward boys they’re cool girls? And the parents hear about the plan and follow them around all night of the prom to keep them from having sex.”

Producer (licking his fingers after feasting on the previous screenwriter’s soul): “Oh, so the focus is on the parents rather than the kids? I like that idea! Teen actors are a PITA to work with.”

Writer (quickly switching gears): “Yes, that’s exactly it! The parents get into all sorts of rude and crude adventures, trying to hang out with teens and be cool. We’d need a comedienne who’s good at playing blue…”

Producer: “Leslie Mann would be perfect, and would jump at top billing. And what about John Cena as a straitlaced type who has embarrassing stuff happen to him? His agent really thinks comedy is where he’s going to be able to show off his acting chops.”

Writer (stifling rising bile in throat): “Oh yes, he’s a terrific funnyman. He’s like Schwarzenegger, but willing to poke fun at himself.”

Producer (turning to assistant): “Marcy, get Kay Cannon’s agent on the phone. She’s super-hot now after writing and producing the ‘Pitch Perfect’ flicks, and I hear she’s dying to direct. This would be right in her wheelhouse. (Back to writer.) So how soon can you flesh it out into a first draft?”

Writer (distracted by thoughts of a check with lots of zeroes): “Er, um… it’s practically already written!”

The result isn’t exactly craptastic, boasting a few decent laughs. The funniest is probably the scene where Cena’s character is challenged with imbibing alcohol in a very… direct manner.

But “Blockers” is formulaic and predictable, the sort of thing that was better left half-written in somebody’s bottom drawer.

Bonus features are ample, including deleted scenes, gag reel and a “Line-O-Rama” of unused takes. There are also six making-of documentary shorts: “Rescue Mission,” “Prom Night,” “The History of Sex with Ike Barinholtz,” “John Cena’s Prom Survival Kit for Parents,” “Chug! Chug! Chug!” and “Puke-a-Palooza.”



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