Home Opinions SXSW Film Review: “Blockers” a comedy for the modern era

SXSW Film Review: “Blockers” a comedy for the modern era

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Photo Illustration by: Cassandria Alvarado | Former Staff Photographer

The daring, sex comedy “Blockers” appears to be another standard predictable adult comedy at first glance. However, the movie dares, and accomplishes, to be so much more than its predecessors.

Centered around a trio of well-meaning parents attempting to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night, the laughs start early and remain consistent throughout. Most of the jokes are not lazy and fit well within the narrative structure. And while the material has audience members grabbing their sides for the entire duration, the strongest aspect of “Blockers” is not its jokes, but its message and commentary.

Unlike most tentpole sex comedies from the last two decades, “Blockers” truly originated from the female perspective. Director Kay Cannon used her experiences, and the experiences of other female cast and crew members, to deliver an authentic, genuine female experience. The motivation was not done as a replication of previous genre installments, but an independent, original work standing on its own merits.

This assessment may seem overly dramatic considering it’s about a movie where John Cena chugs beer through a tube in his butt, but with stories like “Blockers”, a common thread remains evident and important: representation matters. And while spotlighting an underserved demographic, the movie is still relatable and enjoyable for all comedy lovers, regardless of gender.

Another strength of “Blockers”’ narrative is the relationships between the parents and children. Both sides are worth rooting for, and often at the same time. The parents are ridiculous but they are not unbelievable or unrelated. The teenage girls also have their own motivations and characterization beyond the premise of the plot. The characters felt like actual people not just vessels for jokes. This might also be the movie that guarantees John Cena can transcend his roots and be given consideration as a legitimate actor. At first, his casting felt like a gimmick but the pro wrestler held his own against his comedy veteran co-stars and served his role well.

Sex comedies are generally guilty of being overwhelmingly heteronormative. “Blockersavoidds this pitfall by including queer representation that is both respectful and believable. The character Sam comes out to her father and it isn’t some cheap shot, but rather an emotional connection between the two characters. It manages to feel organic in a mostly silly movie. Instead of her sexuality being a punchline, it’s a matter-of-factish character trait constituting a well-developed character with more to offer than just bait.

“Blockers” is a comedy for the modern era. Comedy is not dying out; it’s changing. Cannon presents proof we can still laugh at taboo subjects without being grotesque or tacky. It’s unexpectedly delightful and a fun time. There really is something for everyone.

Zach Ienatsch is Journalism senior