2018-04-20 07:50
Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz in a sce

What it's about:

When three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal.

What we thought:

Blockers is again proof that wrestlers can be hilarious given the opportunity, and John Cena brings it with a character that may appear typical for a man of his stature at first but is surprisingly very forward-thinking by showing a man in touch with his emotions without being completely ridiculed. This is prevalent throughout Blockers, where you expect cliché stereotypes but instead end up with well-rounded characters that bring comedy into the world where audiences are becoming more aware of the biases and prejudice of movies.

Julie (Kathryn Newton), Sam (Gideon Adlan) and Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) have been best friends since forever, and by default so have their parents. On prom night emotions and hormones are high, and when the clingy mom (Leslie Mann), overprotective dad (Cena) and the fun but distant dad (Ike Barinholtz) finds out their kids plan to lose their virginity, they embark on a disastrous mission to ‘block’ them.

You go into the movie thinking it’s some terrible message about girls’ sexuality and how they should stay ‘pure’, but Blockers is self-aware enough that they even call out the actions of the parents on multiple occasions, and in the end comes out with a very positive message about women taking back their sexuality. Even the one parent has a very valid and supportive reason for trying to stop his daughter from having sex, and he’s the one you start off thinking is going to be the worst person. There’s no awful boyfriends or terrible parents or sleazy teachers – the only arch-nemesis is the parents’ inability to let go of their children and let them grow up. Who would have thought a comedy with Cena in it would come out with very teachable parenting themes?

This is not to say the movie is not a hotbed for slapstick ridiculousness and as sex is a big theme be prepared to see a lot of it. The trailers make it seem like that’s all the humour there is, but the crassness of jokes like ‘butt-chugging beer’ is balanced out with clever scriptwriting and actors that deliver fantastic performances.

Cena may be the scene-stealer, but everyone has their moments to shine with honest hilarity and nuanced connections to their characters and each other. It’s a big cast with no real discernible lead, so it’s quite impressive that director Kay Cannon put in the time to flesh out each character. This is her directorial debut, coming off from producing Pitch Perfect 2 and 3 and 30 Rock and executive-producing New Girl, so she knows her way around comedy.

Another standout for me was Viswanathan, with enough attitude to match that of her on-screen dad Cena. She delivers every line dripping with sass without being mean and you can’t help but fall in love with her.

Blockers is a surprisingly realistic, without the exploding shenanigans, take on sex that somehow manages to be feminist while still falling perfectly into a genre that for decades has been defined by toxic masculinity and objectification of women for laughs. It retains strong femininity without putting down anyone’s identification with gender, and on the way makes your insides burst with laughter, even with throwaway lines that just fly under the radar. If this movie doesn’t make you LOL in real life, then you’re doing comedy wrong.

Read more on:    john cena  |  movie review  |  blockers

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