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Blockers review - a funny and refreshingly sex-positive teen sex comedy

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Blockers is a surprisingly smart teen sex comedy that brings the laughs while promoting good parenting and encouraging thoughtful and healthy exploration of sex and sexuality.

Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena in Blockers (2018)

Three parents, Lisa, Hunter and Mitchell (Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena) find out that their respective daughters Julie, Kayla and Sam (Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon and Geraldine Viswanathan) are planning to lose their virginities on prom night – and they decide to interfere.

Hijinks, including nakedness, butt-chugging and projectile vomiting ensue, but when all is said and done, the parents and their kids learn to love each other even more, and a lesson or two to boot.

So far, so typical, but what makes Blockers stand out as a teen sex comedy is how much it insists on deconstructing its own premise in surprisingly smart and insightful ways.

For starters, the parents wanting to stop their kids from having sex isn’t the whole story. Lisa, who is very close with her daughter is afraid of losing her and being on her own; Hunter knows his daughter is secretly gay and wants to stop her from doing something she’ll regret and Mitchell… is just overprotective, but Cena is the funniest actor in this so that evens it out.

In addition to the added character layers, Mitchell, who is initially portrayed as a neglectful asshole, is the first to criticize the other parents for messing with their kids’ lives. He only changes his mind when he sees Sam is clearly miserable with her male date.

Blockers takes just about every available opportunity to point out, to the character’s faces, that what they’re doing is wrong and that they should allow their kids to explore their sexuality on their own terms – as long as they’re being smart and careful about it, which they’re always shown to be.

Hell, the movie even goes a little too far, as sometimes it almost comes across as preachy. The message is definitely heard loud and clear, and it’s a good message to have, which makes the occasional overzealousness of the delivery easier to deal with it.

Blockers has a sex scene where a woman says ‘No’ part-way and the guy respects her decision and doesn’t push it. Blockers has an important sub-plot about a lesbian struggling with coming out to her family and friends and also coming to grips with her own sexuality.

The writing isn’t subtle and there are times where the dialogue doesn’t really sound like the way people talk, but the sentiment is sincere and thoughtful throughout.

Weirdly enough, Blockers is so considerate and careful in how it tackles sex, sexuality and parenting that it makes the big teen sex comedy gross-out scenes seem almost out of place. Yeah, they’re funny (especially the butt-chugging bit), but it’s hard to shake the feeling that they’re only here to be checked off a list.

John Cena is hilarious throughout, but the whole cast also undoubtedly gets a chance to shine and show off their comedic chops. Some jokes land, other don’t, but even when it’s short on laughs, the likable characters and the overall healthy attitude towards sex help the movie along.

It is also pretty nice to see young women that are written well, have distinct personalities and are just good friends that support and empower one another. No jealousy, no love triangles, no catfights or the like. It’s not that these things don’t happen in real life, but they’re overdone in hackneyed fiction.

Blockers is, in a word, refreshing. The comedy is solid, the characters likable and the movie’s overall story is just full of so much positivity and encourages such healthy attitudes that it’s very hard not to like. It’s a thoughtful, feel-good movie that also happens to have a close-up of testicles being grabbed and someone getting sprayed in the face with ass beer.

We live in strange times.

Blockers is out in cinemas now, distributed by Universal Pictures.

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