Aida Vucic | 26/03/2018
How best to explain this film using emojis? Probably:
Playing on the limited vocabulary of the youth of today and our excessive use of emojis to articulate ourselves, whether it be for conveying emotions or well-known phrases, Blockers is a film which exploits the shortcomings of modern communications, delivering a LOL comedy that defies expectations in terms of quality and pathos.
It’s the day of prom, when Julie (Kathryn Newton) announces to her two best friends Kayla and Sam (Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon respectively) that she has decided to lose her virginity (not cliché at all), to her long-time boyfriend. Her declaration inspires Kayla to also join her, setting her eyes on ‘the chemist’ (Miles Robbins). Sam’s slightly more apprehensive, but, not wanting to be left out, chooses Chad (Jimmy Bellinger). Unbeknownst to them, their parents Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) discover their “sex pact” and, not yet ready to part with their adolescent daughters, set about to stop them.
What unfolds is an entertaining series of events; following them to the prom, a house party and a hotel after party. The film never pauses for a breath, and whilst this would typically be disorientating, Kay Cannon shows restraint, ensuring that sequences move fluidly from one to the next. It’s an impressive feat, given that this is Cannon’s first directorial debut, but having written the scripts for the three Pitch Perfect’s, Cannon is well versed in comedy and shows amazing skill and dexterity with the pacing of this piece. Interestingly the film has five credited writers, yet the script is synchronized with elements of rudimentary as well sophisticated humour; it’s a well-balanced mashup of the two for a genre which often struggles to achieve this equilibrium.
The film is a testament to how far we’ve come as a society. Since the likes of Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and She’s all That (the list goes on), female sexuality was always restricted by this philosophy that the female virginity was scared. Blockers doesn’t yield to these archaic ideas, summarised by a well dictated monologue from Sarayu Rao. While intertwined with the comedy of the film, the monologue will stay with you long after the movie finishes, because it perfectly summarises the necessary mental shift needed for those stuck in the past. It’s a perfectly placed film in the #metoo zeitgeist, and will undoubtedly hold a special place amongst younger female viewers who need to be given access to some of these viewpoints in the mainstream comedy sphere.
But while it’s a film that shakes up what a traditional comedy like this is, it isn’t remarkable solely for it’s currency. Because, make no mistake, this film is hilarious. Special mention has to go to Cena, whose performance cements him as a legitimate actor. He’s steadily proving that his comedy chops are bigger than his muscles, and here he plays once again against type to the hilarity of all. The butt-chugging sequence, in particular, had our cinema laughing hysterically. However, the stand out would have to be Viswanathan. The newcomer is an absolute delight to watch on screen, from her animated facial expressions to the chemistry she shares with her pseudo-dad Cena. She’s a delight to watch, and one to watch out for in the future.
Blockers may have an awkward title, but it’s a poignant, dirty, frequently hilarious comedy that never lets up. One of the funniest comedy in recent years.