Blockers is a stupid but light-hearted comedy

April 13, 2018

Rated-R romantic comedies have taken a downward spiral in recent years, with plot lines and actions that attempt to be funny, but end up being too cringe-worthy. Films that fall into this category include “Sisters,” “How To Be Single” and “Rough Night.” However, “Blockers” is a rated-R romantic comedy that refrains from this trend. Kay Cannon and Seth Rogen’s new film “Blockers” contains a lot of ludicrous comedy, but it does not try too hard to be funny. This allows for a comedic film that is not too over the top.

The movie begins with three best friends getting ready to go to their high school prom. On the day of prom, each of these girls makes a pact to lose her virginity on prom night. Julie (Kathryn Newton) plans to lose it to her boyfriend, while Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) wants to hook up with her chemistry lab partner who is also the school’s drug dealer. Sam (Gideon Adlon), a closeted lesbian who is going to prom with a boy as a “beard” to conceal her sexuality, reluctantly agrees to go along with Julie and Kayla’s “sex pact.”

As the girls text about their plans in the limo on the way to prom, Julie’s mom, Lisa (Leslie Mann), Kayla’s dad, Mitchell (John Cena), and Sam’s dad, Hunter (Ike Barinholtz), read the text messages off of Julie’s laptop, finding out about their sex pact. Lisa and Mitchell set out to stop their daughters in any way possible, while Hunter, determined to make this a perfect night for Sam, tries to stop the parents from humiliating their kids. The writing and framing of the film is unique, as the parents’ animated efforts to stop their children go above and beyond, showing the parents as the truly immature characters in comparison to their teenage children.

The acting in this movie is, overall, well executed. Cena’s portrayal of an overprotective father was a highlight. Viewers perceive Cena’s character to be tough and strong, with a competitive drive to protect his daughter. At the same time he is vulnerable, because he constantly fears of his daughter getting into trouble. His sensitive side is displayed the most near the end of the movie when Kayla asks her father to trust her.

Mann’s performance as an extremely overprotective yet sweet mother is simultaneously delightful and humorous; a convincing portrayal of a single mother afraid of losing her close relationship with her daughter in college. Barinholtz delivers both a sentimental portrayal of a divorced father who has made mistakes in the past but just wants to rekindle his relationship with Sam, while worrying she is going to lose her virginity to someone she does not really love out of societal pressure. At the same time, Barinholtz’ whimsical portrayal of his character provides the audience with comic relief.

The film marks the directorial debut of Kay Cannon, who wrote the popular musical-comedy “Pitch Perfect.” As a first time director, Cannon shines, and the film is dynamic, without any dull moments on screen. The storyline keeps the audience engaged for the entire movie, and not one scene drags on for too long. However, the film is conducted in a way that places more emphasis on the parents, rather than the girls going to prom. Viewers really get to know the personality traits of each of the parents. While the girls drive the plot of the movie, the audience does not really get to know the personalities of Julie, Kayla, and Sam well enough.

“Blockers” caters to the demographic of college students and teenagers by portraying teenagers exploring their sexualities, gender roles and partying. Young viewers can easily connect as they learn how to make their own smart choices, just like the teens in this movie and become independent from their parents. While the actions of the movie’s parents are exaggerated, young adults will appreciate having a comedy to which they can easily relate.

Nevertheless, “Blockers” is not an intellectual movie. The plot, the scenes, and the characters are silly; the film does not seek to challenge minds. Do not expect a critical darling, but you will see a carefree comedy. “Blockers” is a good film because it is funny without trying hard to be too absurd.

Obviously, if one looks back in a couple of years from now, no one is going to regard “Blockers” as one of the best films of of all time, let alone one of the best films of 2018. Whether or not this film will live on to become a comedic classic like “Superbad,” “Mean Girls” or “Easy A” is unknown, but this film is definitely not an atrocious train wreck compared to its other rated-R comedy predecessors.

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