Blockers: Film Review

I have to be honest, I thought Blockers was gonna suck. I had the lowest expectations for it, so I came away pleasantly surprised by how funny, modern and relevant it was. A teen comedy for the ‘woke’ generation, if you will.

It stars Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon and Geraldine Viswanathan as Julie, Sam and Kayla, three best friends who make a pact to lose their virginity on their prom night. Their parents – namely Julie’s mum Lisa (Leslie Mann), Kayla’s dad (John Cena) and Sam’s dad Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) – find out and try to stop it from happening.

What I love about Blockers is how it represents modern society. The main three girls are different shapes and sizes – none of them are fat but they aren’t stick thin cheerleader types that are usually the leads in these teen comedies. I love that director Kay Cannon (who wrote Pitch Perfect) picked two relativity unknown girls for the leads and one is mixed race and it isn’t made a thing, nor is the fact that her dad (Cena) is white and her mum Marcie (Sarayu Blue) is Indian-American. Sam’s white mum Brenda (June Diane Raphael) has now moved on with Frank (Hannibal Buress) and it’s not even mentioned that he’s black, not as a punchline of a joke or anything. Sam thinks she’s gay and that is accepted without question. This is refreshing, important and shows how easy it can be done.

It has also rewritten the script on how we should feel about girls losing their virginity. The parents get called out for having double standards, protecting their daughters’ innocence in a way they wouldn’t with a son, being antiquated and not trusting their daughters to make responsible decisions. Again, this felt very different to what is usually seen onscreen and enjoyed the update very much. That said, in one scene, Marcie harps on too long about it and drives it home a bit too much. I prefer my messaging to be less obvious.

For all its smarts, Blockers doesn’t have an 100% hit rate with the jokes, but a lot do work. There is a lot going on, considering it is largely a chase movie, and some of the set pieces are cool, there are lots of pop culture references and there are some absolute gems of dialogue. Cena proves his comedy chops, definitely providing more laughs than the veterans, but the girls were the stars of the show, particularly Adlon and Viswanathan, who won me over. They were funny and sweet and I will keep an eye out for their work in the future. Their respective partners are also treated with respect; from Austin (Graham Phillips), Connor (Miles Robbins) to Chad (Jimmy Bellinger).

Blockers is smarter and more hilarious than I would have ever expected. I laughed out loud a lot, there were some touching moments and some strong messages. It was highly entertaining and introduced us to a fantastic bunch of newcomers. Assured directorial debut from Cannon.

In cinemas Friday 30th March 

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