By Kaila-Marie Hardaway Managing Editor
A raunchy comedy filled with sexual innuendos, eggplant emojis and a half-naked John Cena — based on the trailer, that’s how many perceive “Blockers,” “Pitch Perfect” writer Kay Cannon’s directorial debut. The film, which hits theaters April 6, is more than meets the eye, however.
The movie follows three parents, Lisa (Leslie Mann), Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) and Mitchell (John Cena), as they try to stop their teenage daughters from participating in “#SexPact2018,” an attempt to collectively lose their virginities on prom night.
What Lisa, Hunter and Mitchell anticipate to be a quick operation to prevent their daughters, Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon), from having sex turns into an all-night mission filled with emojis, teenage partying and the occasional “The Fast and the Furious” reference.
Despite the movie’s comedic plotline, all of the characters are well-developed enough to make them interesting, such as Adlon’s role as the gothic, closeted lesbian, Mann’s role as the attached, single mom, and Cena’s highly-anticipated role as the brawny, hard-shelled Mitchell.
Although Cena has had roles in movies like “Sisters,” “Daddy’s Home” and more, “Blockers” could easily be considered his breakout role. Cena’s character is the punchline in an already comedic film; we see him butt-chug beer during a prom after-party, grab the body parts of two naked, kinky parents and have hilariously expressive reactions to his encounters throughout the night. This, paired with the other parents’ unique characteristics and friendships with each other, create an on-screen chemistry that is not only entertaining, but allows the plot to thrive.
“Blockers” may easily be categorized as a wild, teen sex comedy with outlandish scenarios, but it is much more than what’s shown in the trailer. “Blockers” has adorable, wholesome moments and addresses relevant social and political topics such as feminism and LGBTQ relations. While Lisa and Mitchell are trying to preserve their children's’ innocence, Hunter tries to ensure that his closeted daughter doesn’t lose her virginity to the gender she is not attracted to.
Unlike other male-based, teen comedies, the film relays sex-positive messages and, more importantly, normalizes female sexuality. There are several points in the movie where Lisa and Mitchell’s beliefs are challenged — they’re asked if they would act differently if their children were male instead of female, a notion that many bring up when pointing out gender double standards.
The best part is that these topics aren’t addressed in an overly cheesy way. They are flawlessly incorporated into comedic moments to make viewers reflect on these topics while having a laugh. The film remains funny yet relevant, and is easily the best teen comedy of 2018.
“Blockers” is in theaters nationwide Friday, April 6.