There are a few scenes in Blockers that peak rather high on the gross scale -- such as John Cena chugging a beer with his butt -- but most would agree that the vomit-covered limo ride is the movie at its most disgusting. It's certainly funny, but it is also especially off-putting, as you can practically smell it off the screen. Knowing how it ended up, however, it may surprise you to learn that the original version was far, far more off-putting. Director Kay Cannon recently told me,
The biggest change that was the most helpful with testing was I had this big car chase sequence where the kids are all puking, and the kids puking was a lot longer. There was a lot more puke, and there was a lot more going on. Like Kayla was having this whole drug thing where she thought the puke was confetti, and there was just a lot happening. And it wasn't working. People just thought, as you can expect, thought that the puke was just too gross.
Reading this description, it's not hard to see why audiences were put off. Puke is pretty gross all by itself, but it's far, far worse when characters are reveling in playing around in it.
With Blockers arriving on home video, I recently had the pleasure of hopping on the phone with Kay Cannon to talk about her work on the movie, and one of the first things that came up in conversation was the film's evolution. Comedies can change a lot in the testing process because of the number of alts shot during production, and I asked how early audience reaction altered the theatrical cut. It turns out the most significant modification involved the puking in the limo scene, which wound up changing quite a lot.
So how did Kay Cannon wind up fixing it? As much as she and her team tried to trim and cut the sequence, nothing was working, as audiences kept rejecting it. It certainly must have been frustrating, but the filmmaker wound up finding inspiration from one of 2017's best films: Edgar Wright's Baby Driver. Acknowledging the tremendous impact of the soundtrack on the action, Cannon recognized that music was the answer, and it wound up being perfect:
I kept cutting it down, cutting it down, cutting it down, and still the testing, the people on the cards, were like, 'Oh, the puke is gross, the puke is gross.' I really needed to keep the scene because it got us from Point A to Point B in the story. Luck would have it, I watched Baby Driver, and got totally inspired by Baby Driver. I was like, 'I'm going to put this puke to music.' We trimmed it down, and put it to music, and I tested it in front of an audience with the music, and they loved it. And so that was really helpful.
It's just a little bit of classical music, but it makes all the difference in the world.
If you're really desperate to see more from the puke scene in Blockers (if so... really?), you're in luck. The new Blu-ray has an entire featurette titled "Puke-a-Palooza" that dives into the making of the scene and how they created the truly disgusting effect. It's kind of strange to say, but this is a case where knowing how the sausage is made weirdly makes the whole thing less gross. You can watch a clip of it below: