Imagine a world where men write a teen sex comedy, and consciously decide to hire a woman to direct it. It’s hard, I know, since it’s not the norm, and only a handful of women have directed an R-rated comedy for a studio. Yet, that’s what’s happened with the new studio release Blockers, written by Brian and James Kehoe and directed by Kay Cannon. Now, in addition, imagine the comedy doesn’t focus on teen-bros losing their virginity, as countless movies have done in the past to great success, but rather on a trio of best girlfriends. If that excites you, along with knowing Blockers represents only the sixth R-rated studio comedy directed by a woman, Blockers will be for you.
It’s senior prom, and Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon) make a pact that all three are going to lose their virginity. While only Julie has been dating her beau for any length of time, Kayla and Sam are, for their own reasons, willing to commit to the plan, their own unsuspecting dates in tow.
Kayla, Sam and Julie’s parents have been thrown together since the first day these kids went to kindergarten and found each other. Boundary-crushing single mom Lisa (Leslie Mann), tough guy with a soft heart Mitchell (John Cena), and the sublimely irresponsible oft-absent father Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) stumble onto some texts that confirm their kids’ plans, and the three of them crash the prom, trying to foil all attempts by the determined teens to end their innocence.
As one of the few 2018 films being released by a major studio directed by a woman, lot rides on Blockers being well received by audiences and critics alike. If our screening was any indication, they’ve got a hit on their hands, and what’s more, a movie that younger and older movie lovers will add to required viewing when they hang out together or just need a good laugh.
There are some gross-out moments, but that’s par for the course. It is a teen sex comedy after all. What makes this movie so much fun, though, is two-fold. The first is the parents, and the actors who play them, are at least as funny and misguided as the teenagers. Audiences can follow either group and enjoy feeling a rapport. Also, Leslie Mann is a national treasure. The second, and even more rewarding, is the new perspective of young ladies coming of age, owning their own sexuality, and making both mistakes, and good choices. As funny as many of the scenes are, they also confront sexual double standards that have been in place way too long. There’s longterm value in the way these girls, though sometimes crass, navigate the night, find their center with each, and embrace their individual power. Also, there is diversity, acceptance, and love shown even in the midst of all the ridiculousness.
In this age of #metoo and #itstime, there’s nothing wrong with us girls having one raunchy movie about sex, drugs, and friendship, to counterbalance the dozens with male leads littering the cinematic landscape. I don’t mind living in a world where, maybe, #girltrash is its own form of #Equality. What a relief female filmmaker Kay Cannon hit this one out of the park, and how nice the writers and producers, who were all men, realized they should have a female voice at the helm. Those in charge of upcoming projects should learn from these writers, because beyond parity being the right thing, there’s a lot of money to be made. Hey, Hollywood, does this mean you might trust a few more to direct your studio features? Pretty please?
A (and G for gross. I mean, beer bum juice? no. or…yes?) #beerbumjuice