Tuesday 12 June 2018

Movie Review: Blockers (2018)

A high school sex comedy, Blockers adopts a girls' perspective on runaway hormones as graduation approaches. But the film cannot escape the usual tired coarse humour associated with the worst of the genre.

Teenaged girls Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon) have been friends since the first day of elementary school. Julie's mom Lisa (Leslie Mann), Kayla dad Mitchell (John Cena) and Sam's carefree father Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) have equally maintained a years-long friendship. Now the girls are approaching high school graduation and they make a pact to all have their first sexual experience on prom night.

Julie is close to boyfriend Austin (Graham Phillips), the athletically-inclined Kayla randomly chooses her chemistry lab partner Connor (Miles Robbins) as her date and potential sex partner, while Sam is close to confirming that she is gay and has a crush on Angelica (Ramona Young), but anyway sets her sights on Chad (Jimmy Bellinger) as a potential sex partner.

Parents Lisa, Mitchell and Sam uncover the sex pact as soon their daughters depart for the big night, and frantically take off in pursuit to block the girls from losing their virginity, but catching up with the enthusiastic and determined graduates will not be easy.

Directed by Kay Cannon, written by Brian and Jim Kehoe, and co-produced by Seth Rogen, Blockers adds the image of a prancing cock on top of the title on most of its promotional material. And the title both stated and implied is unfortunately an accurate reflection of the content: the film is more about the parents attempting to block the fun than the girls who just want to have fun.

The teens are the relatively more rational characters, but most of the film is occupied with Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter bickering and fretting as they throw themselves into the impossible task of keeping up with the young and horny. Some good laughs are generated by the pursuit, but the film aims really low: every bodily fluid, body part and orifice gets its on-screen moment.

Countering the pervasive and prolonged blandness of beer poured down the wrong end and parents playing sex games is a good representation of ethnic and sexual identity diversity. The perspective of young women pursuing sexual adventurism is refreshing, and despite an overall obtuse and awkward tone, the film has plenty to say about the different standard young women are held to when they wish to express themselves sexually.

The eternal chasm between generations is exposed, with seemingly cool parents caught short by their offspring transforming into adults. In Blockers the kids are alright, the adults maybe not so much.

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