Blockers (Kay Cannon, 2018) 3 out of 4 stars.
Kay Cannon, the three-time Emmy nominated producer of 30 Rock and writer of the Pitch Perfect franchise, makes her directorial debut with the new sex comedy Blockers, written by Brian and Jim Kehoe. The film centers around three close teenage friends and their overbearing parents, played by John Cena, Leslie Mann, and Ike Barinholtz. There was a time when these three adults’ relationship with one another was just as strong as the friendship between their daughters. All hope to rekindle any remnant of their friendship is considered lost until they find out about their daughters’ pact to lose their virginities on the prestigious night of their high school lives: Prom Night.
Blockers is a delightfully silly sex comedy that takes the extra step to offer a positive outlook on the experience of losing one’s virginity amidst the expected vulgar jokes of private parts and bodily fluids. Sex isn’t a rite of shame. It’s a rite of passage. Kay Cannon elevates the film above the average sex comedy and lets each of the young women experience their sexual awakening in their own realistic way. These moments aren’t fantastical. The girls sit down and share their thoughts on what they think will be the best night of their lives. They take glee in exercising their sexual independence and Cannon refuses to let the story conclude in shaming the young women for taking responsibility of their sexual prowess.
In due time, John Cena will give Dwayne Johnson a run for his money as the mountain-sized movie star with charm for days. There are times when he can’t keep up with Barinholtz’s and Mann’s rapid-fire improvisation but when he is forced to take part in the rambunctious escapades of his daughter’s generation, Cena’s comedic timing is truly impeccable.
Blockers is destined to be the sex comedy classic of the post-millennial generation. The gross-out humor perfectly offsets John Cena’s and Leslie Mann’s out-of-touch parentage. Ike Barinholtz forgets to reel in his shtick from time to time but more often than not he’s the unexpected adrenaline that pushes the comedy to the next level. Kay Cannon has set a new bar for the American sex comedy. This genre can poke fun at the awkwardness of sex for as long as it wants but the real reward is when it starts to intelligently deconstruct a seminal part of a young adult’s life.