MOVIE REVIEW: Blockers' raunchy, raucous girl power
Director: Kay Cannon
Starring: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan
Verdict: A rude (and hilarious) awakening
CONTRARY to popular euphemism, young women seldom lose their virginity - although sometimes it's taken from them and on other occasions they impulsively give it away.
Nor do they generally "fall" pregnant - another passive verb that suggests a strange kind of sexual inertia on their part.
Blockers, a raucous comedy about three teenage girls who take an active role in their sexual liberation, sets out to correct such prudish atavism.
(Although it must be acknowledged here that the filmmakers have bowdlerised their own title, perhaps in the interests of mainstream distribution. The symbolism of that missing body part is priceless.)
Following in a long and established gross-out tradition - from Animal House to A merican Pie, Bridesmaids to Bad Neighbours - Blockers includes the regulation quota of projectile vomit, scatological humour and distasteful drinking games.
But beneath that vulgar college brat exterior lies a fairly straightforward message of female empowerment.
While the film's narrative template is conventional, its gender relationships are refreshingly robust.
Rather than waiting for their male counterparts to take the lead, these young women have a sense of agency over their own lives.
Blockers, the directorial debut of Pitch Perfect screenwriter Kay Cannon, tells the story of three friends who make a pact to have sex for the first time on their prom night.
Blonde, cute Julie (Kathryn Newton) is in a long-term relationship. She's been planning this night for some time.
Athletic tomboy Kayla (Australian actrss Geraldine Viswanathan) sees it more as sport. She chooses the ultra laid-back Connor (Mile Robbins) as her doubles partner.
Uber-nerd Sam (Gideon Adlon) just doesn't want to be left out. She's gay - but she hasn't told anyone yet.
Even though she has eyes only for Angelica (Ramona Young), Sam taps her dorky friend Chad (Jimmy Bellinger), who can't believe his luck.
When the girls' overprotective parents learn of their plans, however, they resolve to stop them - by fair means or foul.
Leslie Mann's ferociously funny, high maintenance single mum is suffering from a severe case of empty nest syndrome.
John Cena's gentle giant simply can't bear to let his daughter grow up.
Ike Barinholtz's deadbeat dad is trying desperately to reconnect with his estranged daughter.
In Blockers, his character comes closest to representing the voice of reason - and that's saying something.
This dangerously unhinged trio knows no boundaries.
What follows is an escalating series of escapades as they stalk their children around town.
Some of the sets ups feel forced and the comedy is uneven.
But scenes such as the one in which Mann gets caught in the hotel room with her daughter and her daughter's about-to-be lover are pants-wettingly funny.
And Cannon just keeps the jokes coming.
Blockers opens on Thursday.