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Blockers, for me, was always going to be one of those movies you saw advertised at the cinema and say "that looks pretty funny, I'll go and watch that," and then never do. The opportunity for me to actually go and watch it arose from a spontaneous day out with some friends recently.
Considering the only other movie we wanted to see was A Quiet Place, we opted for Blockers, as we'd been to an all-you-can-eat restaurant, and would need precisely zero help in crapping ourselves.
The premise behind the Kay Cannon-directed comedy is remarkably simple; three high school friends, Julie, Kayla and Sam, make a sex-pact to lose their virginities on prom night. Upon discovering this pact, their parents set out to stop them by any means necessary.
The trio of parents who are on the cock-blocking mission is made up of John Cena, who plays muscle-bound softy Mitchell, Leslie Mann, who takes on the role of over-protective single mum Lisa, and Ike Barinholtz, as the party-loving outcast Hunter. Each one has some great standout moments both for comedy and for character development.
The variety of humour on display is worthy of commendation, ranging from your standard one-liners and witty retorts to the more outlandish, increasingly ridiculous physical scenarios, most notably where Cena finds himself in a very different kind of "chugging" contest.
For as much as I liked the look of Blockers from its trailers, I feared that all the best moments had already been advertised, as is the norm for most film promotions these days. It came as a refreshing surprise that this wasn't the case this time around; there are plenty more laugh-out-loud scenes to be had that aren't advertised.
What was also great to see was that the film didn't shy away from developing the parents and the teens as their own person. Each one of them is given enough screen time to show you their reasoning behind their actions as well as an insight into them as individuals. It becomes less about the girls losing their virginities and more about them discovering themselves, both for their aspirations for the future and as young women, and the parents' struggling to understand and accept that, despite their hearts being in the right place.
While none of the humour felt particularly forced, there were a couple of more tender moments, especially when Hunter reveals why he cheated on Sam's mother, that felt a bit undermined as they were swiftly kicked to the side by a follow-up gag. It doesn't break the movie by any means, but it detracts somewhat from these characters feeling like real people.
Another great decision by director Kay Cannon was to use the scenario of teens trying to lose their virginities on prom night to challenge double standards in our culture, particularly surrounding the roles of women in society and the idea of them having sex takes away their innocence. It's a bold move, especially from a woman in her directorial debut in a male-dominated industry, but it's a good one that ultimately pays off. She and the characters in her movie are well aware of the society around them and use it to their advantage.
What makes Blockers truly great is the strength of the writing and the performance of all six of the main characters. They each play their characters convincingly and all get the payoff they deserve come the films' conclusion.
It ends up being perhaps better than it should be, but that's very much a good thing. If a film with the same premise was released even ten years ago, it wouldn't have been the smartly written, wickedly funny and surprisingly enlightening treat that we got in 2018. For me, Blockers is one of the most well-rounded and satisfying comedies I've seen for years.