Teenage dreams of prom night are parents' nightmares in "Blockers."
The awkward, over-the-top gross-out comedy follows the ill-advised exploits of three parents who stalk their daughters throughout one long night, doing everything they can to sabotage their plans to shed their virginities.
John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz are the goofball, ever-meddling parental figures, whose combined maturity levels measure up to about half of that of each of their daughters.
The underlying theme is the efforts of adolescents to break free of parental control, and the coinciding need for parents to trust their children and set them free. But the bizarre, often nonsensical story is little more than an excuse to cram as many disturbing moments as possible into the 100-minute runtime with the goal of shock-laughs.
Not one for the squeamish, the comedy cracks you up as you watch with palms firmly attached to your face, your eyes peeking through your fingers. The comedy's creative pedigree gives you a sign of what sort of ride you're in for.
The producing team includes "Superbad" and "Sausage Party" impresarios Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, and "Pitch Perfect" impresario Kay Cannon directs.
There were clearly no grown-ups in the room to tell anyone "no, you can't do that," and that works to the comedy's advantage. Whenever you think it can't push the envelope further, it gives it another forceful shove.
Put it this way: You'll never look at the act of chugging booze the same way again, and blindfolds, hotel curtains and bedsheets may well induce you to cringe from here on out. That's the legacy of "Blockers" -- laughs that scar you.
What goes unanswered is exactly why the parents find themselves so obsessed with their kids' sex lives. Other than a throwaway scene in which another parent scolds the trio for their perverse, hapless meddling with the inevitable, there is no voice of reason in the movie. It's best to just stop asking why these overbearing idiots are behaving the way they are and just sit back and enjoy their endless comeuppances.
The performances carry the movie when the writing falters. Cena, who continues to build up his acting repertoire far beyond his WWE and direct-to-video action flick roots, proves to be such a strong comic foil in the Dwayne Johnson mold, and Mann easily slides into her anything-goes mode of "Big Daddy" and "This is 40." Likewise, Barinholtz -- a veteran of the "Neighbors" flicks and "Snatched," has ridden this rode roughshod many times before, and thrives again in his element.
While "Blockers" delivers enough laughs to stay interesting, it can't compare to the wily cleverness of "Game Night," which still easily stands as the comedy to see of 2018. "Blockers" is B-level through and through, but earns your attention through head-shaking laughs.
"Please, oh please don't go there," you'll find yourself thinking again and again. And then it goes there, and you find yourself appreciative it took you along its sick, twisted path.
RATING: 3 stars out of 4.