Despite Its Title, Blockers Is A Progressive Comedy

by Ben Martin

There is a parental trend in recent cinema. That trend being parents themselves as subjects, with last week seeing the release of both A Quiet Place and Blockers. In Blockers, parents aren’t trying to survive the apocalypse. No, instead they are trying to survive their teenage daughters becoming adults. Depending on who you ask, I suppose the End Times could be as painful as parenting rising college student(s). However, not as painful as said student’s loans will be.
High-school seniors Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Angelica (Ramona Young) have all been best friends since kindergarten. Like anyone and that age, the girls are nervous about their next stage in life. In an effort to go out with a bang, the trio pledges to lose their virginity on prom night, respectively. With prom only a couple of days away, the excitement build with the teens chatting back and forth incessantly on iMessage about “#SexPact2018”. After the pre-prom cookout, the girls’ respective parents: Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena), and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) stumble upon Julie’s open laptop, which is displaying the ongoing text conversation as it occurs. Instinctively, these parents feel obliged to stop this pact from taking place. Therefore, they have no choice to find and stop their kids over the course of one crazy prom night.

In the trite subgenre of teen sex-comedies, there’s not really any new ground to cover. Like its cousin genre of slasher films, you know what you’re getting with coming-of-age adult comedy. However, Blockers manages to put a somewhat original and funny spin on the subgenre. I can’t count how many sex comedies I’ve seen that put a group of white guys in a similar situation. That’s been happening ever since Bachelor Party (1984) and to say such a trope has been done to death would be an understatement.
Thus, seeing the film in review put itself ahead of the curve by making those same types of characters young women was a nice change of pace. It also helps that they’re were very disparate characters regarding personality, orientation, and race. Such writing and casting opens more doors that would usually be shut in a movie like this. Beyond that, the trifecta of parental units played by Mann, Cena, and Barinholtz have enough chemistry and comedic timing between them as a trio to make comedy meth. Between the character relationships and the situation itself, Blockers is a comedy with consistent laughs. However, I didn’t find to be bust-a-gut funny, just nice and steady.  Of course, that’s probably due to the fact that I found the movie to be a bit long.

But it isn’t on the surface where Blockers truly excels. You have to be relatively smart to be funny, and thankfully, this movie is both of those. Unlike most comedies, I found my pleasure with Blockers in what it had to say on the subjects of sex and coming-of-age, as opposed to the laughs it pulled out of such topics. Most sex-comedies are simple pictures that harness the human cornerstone of carnal knowledge, solely for its comedic potential; tossing aside the impacts that sex can and does have because this subgenre is about the fun of it. The problem with such a thing is that it’s lazy.
Thankfully, this picture takes a different approach. Firstly, despite its plot, the movie is both progressive and sex-positive. In being so, Blockers takes into account the way sexuality and modern culture function. At the same time, this movie also makes it a point to say how vital having sex and making that choice to do so really is. I don’t want to sound like a Puritan here, but it is an important choice. One which movies, more often than not, play down.

In closing, I thought it was nice to see an intelligent, adult comedy that had some things on its mind. By no means is it perfect; it’s a tad too long and suffers from being bland from a cinematography standpoint. A trend you know that I’m not at all fond of if you read some of my other reviews. If you like well-done comedy, Blockers is worth a viewing. It probably won’t go down as a subgenre classic like some of its fellow contemporaries have. However, it is consistently funny, and what more could you ask for from a comedy? The answer is, not a lot. However, in the case of the movie in review, you get consistent laughs plus some actually intelligent commentary.


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