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Blockers Review

"Girls just want to have fun"
Girls now get their chance to lead a teen sex comedy thanks to Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon, making her directional debut. Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon) have been best friends since the age of five. Now on the cusp of graduation and womanhood the trio make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. When their parents, Kayla's dad Mitchell (John Cena), Julia's mom, Lisa (Leslie Mann), and Sam's absentee father, Hunter (Ike Barinholtz), find out about the pact they go around Chicago in an attempt to cock block their daughters. When it comes to teen sex comedies it has often been the preserve of males. Many of the big films in the genre like the American Pie series, Porky'sSuperbad, etc.... they are told from a male perspective and are all about the need to lose virginity before they go to college or gain popularity.  It's considered funny when males explore their sexuality it's considered funny but taboo for women. The film even addresses this double standard was addressed by Mitchell's wife Marcie (Sarayu Blue) - saying it is a triumph for boys to lose their virginity but a tragedy for girls. The aim of the film is to tear down the gender stereotypes. The girls themselves were a likable bunch: Julie was the girly-girl who's in a six-month relationship so wants to take the next step; Kayla is the athlete who wants to lose her virginity before going to college; and Sam is slightly nerdy and coming to terms with her sexuality but feels she has to have sex with a guy just to be sure. Sam had the best arc because she has the greatest journey. The parents also have an arc - Mitchell and Lisa have to let go whilst Hunter has to get more involved. Lisa is a single mother who had to drop out of college to have Julie - so cannot picture life without Julia nearby - whilst Mitchell is a stereotypical overprotective dad who sees his daughter as nothing but his little girl and can't accept she's growing up. In Hunter's case he stepped away from being a father and acted like a frat boy douchebag who thinks he's down with the kids, so has to learn to actually be a parent. Blockers has a theme of friendship running throughout it. For the girls there's a fear that they would break up after graduating, whilst for the adults they had drifted apart over the years. Their first scene is them seeing their daughters off to school for the first time and states they are now friends because of them - but by the time of the girls go to prom they had isolated Hunter due to his divorce and Lisa had been avoiding contact with Mitchell. The film is as much about the parents rekindling their bond during their quest. The key question for any comedy is …. does it make the audience laugh? Blockers achieves this. John Cena was the key to this because he was on the receiving end of some humiliating task. Cena showed he was game to humiliate himself and even if Cena doesn't match the success of his WWE rival The Rock he does show he can be a solid comedic actor. Cena was supported by two seasoned comedic performers - which helped - and one of the best exchanges was after the parents crash their car. Out of the teens Viswanathan was the strongest comedic performer. She had the best material because her character had the goal of being completed wrecked before having sex (she does give her consent beforehand). She gave some great reactions. Cannon is no stranger to crude humor: Pitch Perfect had a bit of projectile vomiting and Pitch Perfect 2 opened with "Muffgate." In Blockers this type humor is hit-and-miss: the incidents involving Mitchell are vulgar and hilarious, especially when he gets caught in a game of sexy Marco Polo. A weaker moment was vomiting sequence in the limo - was not really gross-out humor, it was just gross. Whilst the film is telling the sex story from the girl's point-of-view it does touch on the boys' point-of-view and they do treat their dates with respect. It serves as a moral for how some men should treat women regarding sex. However, it would have been cool to see that the boys also get nervous about sex, that one of them can't go through with it because they're not ready to have sex or that boys also feel the pressure to have sex just to fit in or seem cool - but then this could be an idea for another movie. Like Game Night that was released a month ago, Blockers is a better mainstream R-rated comedy that Hollywood usually offers. It is far from a vintage comedy but it does have some funny set-pieces and deserves points for its social message.
  • The social message
  • John Cena was game
  • Solid character arcs
  • Some jokes fall very flat


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