For years we’ve had sex comedies seen through the eyes of lust filled teenage boys tripping over themselves to get the hot girl of their dreams into bed. From Porky’s and Risky Business to American Pie and Superbad, watching naughty young boys wink and laugh their way through sexcapades has been the order of the day.
Blockers brilliantly turns that idea firmly on its head. Bridesmaids and last year’s Girls Trip firmly established that all-female comedies hold more value than yet another Hangover-style film. Director Kay Cannon challenges perceptions even further in Blockers with a hilarious story centred around three teenage girls who remain firmly in control of their sexuality by hatching a plan to lose their virginity on prom night.
The cockerel shown on the film’s poster should give you an idea of the pre-fix intended to sit before the title. The reason being that the secret sex pact made by the three girls – Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Sam (Gideon Adlon) – is discovered by three of their parents who are determined to stop it happening at all costs.
Julie is the daughter of single mum Lisa (Leslie Mann) whose open laptop reveals a group chat between the girls. Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) complete a trio who first bonded when their daughters started kindergarten and have gradually drifted apart as the kids have grown. Once they decode the emoji’s being sent between the girls their fears shoot through the roof and they set off to ‘save’ their children.
The jokes are thrown around ten-to-a-dozen from the opening credits with each of the cast members revelling in the opportunity to make complete fools of themselves. There are moments of gross-out humour but most of the laughs come out organically as the parents end up looking more juvenile than their teenage daughters.
Brian and Jim Kehoe’s script gives agency to the teenagers in the realisation that, actually, most of them do have their head screwed on and if you’ve done your job as a parent you shouldn’t be so panic-stricken. Kids have always experimented with drugs, drink and sex to some degree but that doesn’t mean they have no idea where to draw the line.
Not all of the jokes land but that is true of almost every comedy and there are more than enough to keep you laughing throughout. Director Kay Cannon was responsible for writing the three Pitch Perfect films and in her first effort behind the camera, she shows a deft touch for finding the right pacing in the scenes to draw out the humour.
Geraldine Viswanathan is the pick of the performers from the younger cast members, while John Cena surprisingly puts in a show-stealing performance that makes a mockery of his tough guy wrestling persona.
The ending sets up the potential for a sequel although perhaps caution should be heeded as these types of films rarely have the comedic legs to make a follow up a worthwhile. But for now, whether you’re a teenager or a parent, Blockers has more than enough going for it to make you cringe with laughter over the Easter holidays.