Parental Angst Makes For Surprisingly Wholesome Gross-Out Comedy

Parental Angst Makes For Surprisingly Wholesome Gross-Out Comedy

Review: Blockers
Starring Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena
Directed by Kay Cannon

Blockers isn’t for everyone. The film’s plot is enough of a litmus test to determine whether or not the film is for you.

Previously known as The Pact, Blockers is the story of three soon-to-be high school graduates who make a commitment to lose their virginities by the end of prom. Their parents, Lisa (Mann), Hunter (Barinholtz), and Mitchell (Cena), plot to prevent this from happening, and sneak into their after party.

So much of the comedy here revolves around the generation gap between the parents and their daughters. This is coupled with ridiculous scenarios of what the supposed adults are willing to put themselves through to allay the anxiety of their kids growing up, shortly before they move away from home.

In a year where women creators have had more opportunities with big projects, Blockers deserves commendation for elevating women’s voices. Blockers marks Kay Cannon’s directorial debut, but she has previously proven her comedic credentials on shows like New Girl and the Pitch Perfect series, which she co-wrote. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Cannon said that the experience of being a parent herself made the story stand out.

“When I got the script, I thought a lot about her,” said Cannon. “She’s just so perfect. She’s funny and sweet and smart and blah, blah, blah. And one day, she’s gonna grow up and, like, maybe some bad things will happen to her. [There’s] that constant worry. You can be the most progressive parent, but it’s just . . . this worry.”

Looking past the gross out humour Blockers manages to ask deeper questions of parents. These revolve around what it means to raise children, whether or not teenagers can expect privacy, and double standards that are applied to young women. One scene that takes place towards the end of the film between Hunter and Sam had the preview screening audience in tears.

If Blockers’ premise alone is enough to put you off (and understandably so) than it would be better off avoided. For those who can otherwise sit through this, the film has a surprising message about growing up and parents letting go. Cannon put this best in the Vanity Fair interview.

“People don’t feel comfortable seeing these big comedy moments . . . with something heartfelt. They don’t like it when you try to bridge it,” she said. “But I think we should have more movies or TV that do that same thing. It’s not enough that you can have people just laugh at movies anymore. There’s just too much content out there. You have to make them feel something, too.”

If Blockers is proves successful at the box office, it will hopefully invite Hollywood to consider similar films that bridge the gap between the comedic and the serious.

Blockers is rated MA and releases on 29 March in cinemas

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

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