‘Blockers’: Physical Comedy Done Right

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

If 2018 has shown us anything, it’s that comedy is alive and well. We’ve had Game Night, Isle of Dogs, and Death of Stalin to name just a few. Now we have Blockers, a physical comedy that toes the line between absolutely ridiculous and slapstick comedy perfectly.

Blockers follows three invested parents, Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena), and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) who stumble upon their daughters’ group chat opened up on one of their laptops. After decoding the flurry of emojis appearing on screen, they figure out that their daughters, Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Sam (Gideon Adlon),   have made a pact to all lose their virginity on prom night. This leads them on a wild pursuit to find their daughters and stop them from losing their virginity.

One of the things I loved about this film is that it accomplishes something most comedies can’t: physical, crude humor without going over the top and becoming cringeworthy. This movie is no stranger to ridiculous scenes. This includes one where Barinholtz’s character Hunter pulls up on top of a limo singing Dynamite by Taio Cruz and one where all the teenagers are simultaneously throwing up in that limo. However, these scenes are spread out enough that it works, mixed in with more tame, conversational humor.

The film is the directorial debut of Kay Cannon (writer of the Pitch Perfect series) and I must say I am very impressed. Unlike other films where every single scene is trying to outdo the one before it in terms of absurdity, this film rides the line of ridiculous comedy while still staying sensical.

Not only was Blockers hilarious, but it provided an interesting yet refreshing commentary on how losing your virginity is perceived differently for different genders. Since the film is about parents trying to stop their daughters from having sex, there is a lot of criticism coming from other characters in the film about how females are often thought of as “damsels in distress” and how having sex is a bad thing but when males do it it’s celebrated.

One instance of this is when Mitchell’s wife (Sarayu Blue) finds out what the other three parents are doing and tries to stop them. She points out that if their kids were boys they wouldn’t be having such an extreme reaction to them trying to lose their virginity.

Another unexpected storyline was one about Hunter’s daughter Sam figuring out that she’s gay. Throughout the film there is a girl at her school that she is crushing on, but Sam hasn’t come out to either of her parents, her friends, or really even herself. This subplot of a young girl figuring out her sexuality was definitely unexpected in a movie where there is actually a scene where John Cena chugs beer up his butt, but it ended up fitting nicely and was part of what kept this movie from going overboard.

Blockers really was everything that a big blockbuster comedy should be. It was genuinely funny, authentic, and at times even heartwarming. A true breath of fresh air in a genre that so often goes wrong.


My Rating: 81%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 3.5/4

Enjoyability: 4/4

 

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