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Blockers – Movie Review

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Blockers – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

The premise of Blockers may make some people queasy with its tale of parents who attempt to stop their daughters from losing their virginity. It’s understandable, but director Kay Cannon thankfully manages to flip expectations by respecting its teenage characters’ intelligence and their ability to make their own choices. While not all of the jokes hit and a few do land with an utter thud, there are enough stand-out moments and worthy performances to make Blockers a decent viewing. One can easily see this film becoming the American Pie for teenage girls of this generation. It’s also neat to see Cannon, a successful writer for many years, jump into the director’s chair.

Blockers starts off rather slowly with its character set-ups and the actors are definitely waiting until prom night starts before letting loose. The funniest bits in the first act come primarily from short phrases and actions, although Ike Barinholtz immediately sets himself up as the best in the parental trio. The running gag of his suggestions continually being ignored gets some decent laughs. John Cena has shown himself to be a comically gifted actor before and ones wishes Blockers had taken more advantage of his size and puppy dog face. However, it’s still good to see him make the successful transition from wrestler to thespian.

Once the prom fiascos begin, Blockers picks up steam and also showcases its message. Cannon is clearly on the side of the teenage girls and they make for a likeable trio. The parents are frequently called out for their behaviour and moralizing and the girls thankfully never come across as ungrateful twerps. They are each given their own story arc, with Gideon Adlon’s Sam being the most interesting. Geraldine Viswanathan gets the funniest bits, just from her facial expressions alone. It’s a slight shame that a scene in which she takes a psychedelic drug is so short, because she runs with it in that small screen time. One of the highlights also surprisingly comes from a vomit joke, mostly due to the level of projectile.

Gary Cole makes a few amusing appearances as a father having a sex night, with one brilliant scene involving Cena and Barinholtz being stuck in the middle. There are some clunkers, though, that ruin the comedic momentum. A scene involving a beer keg falls completely flat. Unlike the other lowbrow gags in Blockers, this sequence is a little too idiotic and the lack of realism makes it even more frustrating. It seems odd to bring realism into a film like this, but the direction they go in is completely absurd and embarrassing to watch. It’s an odd detour to make and it’s surprising Cena would agree to take part in such a bit.

Blockers provides enough decent laughs to make up for the less successful jokes. The aforementioned beer scene aside, the raunchiness is just dirty enough without becoming nauseating and the friendship between the teenage girls is sweet to see. It would have been easy to portray them as being in the wrong and merely being sex-crazed, but Cannon makes us sympathise with them and there’s even an odd rooting interest. There is definitely a criticism of the perception that teenagers are merely seen as precious snowflakes who can’t think for themselves and Cannon slips that commentary in quite well. Kay Cannon has already proven her comedic skill with the Pitch Perfect films and the criminally underrated Netflix series Girlboss. She is definitely on her way to a successful directing career.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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