Blockers (2018) – Review

Blockers is a coming of age story for parents as much as it is for college-bound teenagers.

Underneath the fear of teenage sex is a story about parents who are scared of sending their children off to college.

Prom is a turning point for most high school seniors. It marks the switch from worrying about grades to celebrating the end of high school. By the time prom comes around, most acceptance letters have already been sent out. With the weight of college decisions off your back, you get to enjoy one of your last high school events ever with friends you’ve been with since  kindergarten.

As a current college senior, the feeling of being a high school senior is still fresh in my head. As I near my college graduation, similar feelings are returning to me. My parents were never subtle about how they felt about my leaving for college. They were proud of me for following my dreams, but  they were sad to see their baby girl all grown up and leaving the house.

Blockers does a great job of getting all the above feelings into the 1h 42m film. When I first saw the trailers, I was more than a little skeptical about the film’s premise. Virginity is a societal construct and the parents in the film would not be as preoccupied with their children’s sex lives if they were boys. But, Blockers exceeded my expectations. They addressed the double standard of sex, and ended up focusing more on the parents’ inter dilemma of saying goodbye to their babies than the actual ‘having sex’.

A welcome surprise was the subplot of Sam’s (Gideon Adlon) sexual awakening in the form of her infatuation with fellow nerd girl Angelica (Ramona Young). It was a welcome twist, especially at a time where Love, Simon is still making headlines (and rightfully so). While Love, Simon gave an important story of the trials and fear involved in coming out, Blockers’ coming out story was about acceptance.

Sam’s dad, Hunter (played by the always funny, Ike Barinholtz) casually expresses his knowledge that is daughter is a lesbian. When Sam comes out to her friends Julie (Kathryn Newton) and Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), they both accept the news with open arms and “I love you”s. It was a refreshing coming out story surrounded by love from friends, and doubled as the reuniting of an estranged father and daughter.

Blockers marks Kay Cannon’s first outing as director. Cannon (writer of the Pitch Perfect Trilogy) balances (as Pitch Perfect did) slapstick with with verbal jokes. A memorable example of slapstick is the scene where Mitchell (played by the tough but soft John Cena) gets a hilariously invasive beer enema.

Obviously, the credit of writing the jokes themselves goes to screenwriting duo, Brian and Jim Kehoe. Other than some shorts and an appearance in the role of “Treasure Island Dancer” in Mrs. Congeniality 2, this is the Kehoes’ first major credit. Despite their lack of feature credits, their writing is on par with other current comparable comedy writers; Lucia Aniello (Rough Night, Broad City) and duo Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (The Hangover Parts I,II&III, Bad Moms) all come to mind.

 

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