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‘Blockers’ is surprisingly funny, despite familiar story | The Triangle
Arts & Entertainment

‘Blockers’ is surprisingly funny, despite familiar story

I went into this knowing nothing about the movie beyond the poster and maybe the logline. Based on that, I was expecting it to be a comedy that either tried too hard to be funny and had no story or would consist of LCD (lowest common denominator) jokes that have been overused in a bunch of comedies already. I was not expecting to actually laugh at anything, and both of my friends whom I saw it with had similarly low expectations, but thankfully we were all proven wrong. “Blockers” essentially combines the premise of “American Pie” with the style of “Superbad” and fits it well into a modern high school context. It’s something we’ve seen a bunch of times before in high school movies: the kids want to have sex and the parents do their best to “block” them.

Hardly a new premise, but the movie does a great job creating some original, character-driven jokes that do a good job making light of how parents-teenager dynamics work in a modern context. There are a lot of elements and jokes that center around emoji language and texting conventions, and they are executed in a way that actually feels realistic instead of just getting thrown in haphazardly to try to appeal to younger audiences. There are a lot of good one-liners along with some visual comedy that adds a good variety. Even though I was sort of expecting some over-the-top situational comedy, there were several scenes that had surprising reversals in them.

There were some attempts at a couple of light themes to give the movie heart. On an emotional level, the parents are all trying to connect with their kids, and while it was good that the movie tried to make itself more than a raunchy comedy, this theme was handled in a fairly standard and even cliched way. There was also a little bit of a social statement about how people in general, and parents especially, view girls losing their virginity as this kind of horrific loss of innocence whereas it’s not as big of a deal for boys. It wasn’t really a theme so much as an argument that a couple of characters made. For spoiler reasons, I won’t go into detail, but the movie is careful not to take a definite stance on whether teenagers having sex is okay.

The characters are not totally original, but most of them are fun to watch. The three girls are all fairly different. I didn’t totally buy that they were close friends, but they at least had a good contrast of personalities and were distinct. The only real problem that I had with the teenager characters was the portrayal of Sam as a lesbian. She wasn’t a bad character, but the way they handled her being a lesbian just felt obsolete; not exactly offensive but it didn’t feel very socially conscious. The parents are given more attention and definitely generate more laughs as they try and fail to control their kids. All of them are given a good amount of attention and provide a lot of laughs for the audience with none really out-shining the others.

I would somewhat recommend this. It won’t be the funniest movie you’ve ever seen, but the audience in my theater was laughing throughout the movie. It’s nothing revolutionary or new, but it can make for a good study break with some friends if you’re in the mood.