Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena in Blockers (2018)


It is safe to say that audiences, by now, know what to expect from Leslie Mann and, to a lesser extent, Ike Barinholtz. They are known comic performers – Mann moreso thanks to her featured work in “Knocked Up” and “This Is 40,” but Barinholtz provided able perverted support in the “Neighbors” movies – with the ability to go low or high at a moment’s notice. But the real standout in “Pitch Perfect” screenwriter Kay Cannon’s directorial debut is Jon Cena, the former WWE superstar who displays a surprising degree of vulnerability and a willingness to submit to the absurd demands of situation. I laughed out loud at his extended cameo in “Trainwreck,” but I believed in him as a lovingly over-protective father willing to sacrifice his self-respect and even his manhood. There’s nothing capable of blocking this guy.



There are certain films that you want to like more than you eventually do by the time the lights come up, and Paolo Virzí’s “The Leisure Seeker” is definitely one of those films. It wastes no time introducing us to Ella (Helen Mirren) and John (Donald Sutherland), an elderly couple hitting the road one last time in their vintage RV. We know the stakes are high, because John suffers from dementia and Ella has an obvious terminal illness, but everything about the execution of their little adventure seems to say, “don’t worry about those details.” The problem is without those considerations, there’s precious little else to hold onto. Mirren and Sutherland embody the many contradictions and complexities of these characters, but there’s nothing profound at the end of the road. You might shed a tear or two, but a film like this should seek to inspire more than that.