Blockers - 2018
Director(s): Kay Cannon
Writer(s): Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe (screenplay)
Cinematography by: Russ T. Alsobrook
Editor(s): Stacey Schroeder
Cast: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ramona Young, Kathryn Newton, Ike Barinholtz, Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon
Synopsis: Three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom night (IMDB).
I wasn’t excited to watch this movie. I usually try to enter my screenings with zero to no expectations or pre-impressions, that way the movie experience isn’t tainted with my “baggage”. But the trailer for this movie made it out to look like a generic copy/paste of the late 1990s and early 2000s gross out/coming of age comedies like the American Pie Franchise or Road Trip. Now, walking out of the movie, some of my fears were met as it does rely heavily on the tropes set by its predecessors, but I was surprise by the heart of the movie and the chemistry of the trio of teenage friends.
The story plays on a common fear that almost every single parent can relate to, and that’s the introduction of sex in your child’s life. Especially if your child is a female, more commonly known as a daughter. The movie plays with this double standard and has some great scenes, even if they are played for jokes, highlighting the idea that society makes losing your virginity a huge deal for a female and badge of honor for the male. Ultimately the parents must come to grips with the fact that their job is to teach their children all the values they can and let them have their own experiences in the real world. Letting go and trusting you did your job is the hardest part for any parent. This is the heart of the movie.
The chemistry is solid all around. You believe the chemistry between the kids and their parents. You see the love, care and fear of letting go - Leslie Mann and Kathryn Newton in particular. They have a natural bond between them that makes you walk away really thinking they are family. But the chemistry between the three daughters played by Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon and the previously mentioned Kathryn Newton is great and carries a lot of the weight of the movie. Their friendship and kinship felt real and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were friends behind the camera.
As for the comedy element, it was hit and miss for me. Some of the better jokes are shown in the trailer so you just stare at the screen waiting for the punchline to hit, and others simply didn’t land for me. Don’t get me wrong, I chuckled a fair amount of time, but I never had that truly laughing moment with any of the jokes. This could very well be a “me problem” since the rest of the audience in my screening seemed to be eating up the jokes. I just couldn’t get into the movie fully since I saw the jokes coming a mile away, given that they were so reliant on the comedy tropes on which the genre has so heavily relied throughout the years, like a group of characters that don’t normally drink too much end up ____________ or a character repeats the same joke and during a serious moment he ___________. You can probably fill in the blanks.
Quick note: this is Kay Cannon’s directorial debut and she does a fine job. Nothing fancy but always keeping the flow of the story and the camera movement consistent throughout.
Blockers is a fine enough movie. It doesn’t bring anything new to the comedy genre but it does add to the conversation about the double standards with sex in our society. At times it can be a little heavy handed with the message, but manages to hit the landing in the end. The actors have great chemistry and the movie truly has a heart that makes you forgive them a little for not making you laugh as much as you wanted. Walking into a comedy for a laugh and walking out with a new perspective about society is why I love movies.
Blockers is currently playing in theaters. You could do worse.
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