SXSW First impressions: Blockers (USA, 2018) is a surprisingly smart, often hilarious teen sex comedy that flips gender stereotypes

When Blockers was first announced, I met the concept with sceptism: three teenage girls (including Australia’s own Geraldine Viswanathan) agree to a “sex pact” for their Prom night. Friends since the first day of school, they’re all going to attempt to lose their virginity on the same night. However, their parents (John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz) find out about it, and end up doing whatever it takes to keep their kids from “making the biggest mistake of their lives”.

Add in the fact and the film has no less than five notably male writers attached to the script (including executive producer Seth Rogen and his usual collaborator Evan Goldberg), and all signs were pointing to this being another dumb American comedy – even if they were flipping the gender focus. But where things got interesting was when they cast Kay Cannon as director. And with her husband credited as a writer, it wouldn’t be a leap to consider that herself and the on screen cast ended up with a lot of power in what ended up going on screen. Indeed, after seeing the film at SXSW last night, and hearing them discuss their collaborative approach, it would seem that they did.

The result is a film which, against all odds, is both a hilarious and original film. Sure, at it’s core, the film maintains the elements of the classic teenage sex Comedy – be it Animal House or American Pie. Though here, it’s the girls who are losing their virginity (or tying to), and they don’t have to get naked to prove their point, or be funny. And they are. As much as Cena and Mann are the stars of the film (and most of the comedic gold is reserved for them), the young actors prove to have incredible timing and plenty of laugh-out-loud hilarious moments along the way, buoyed by some clever dialogue.

They’re shown to be strong, independent and smart young women who, while are still figuring out what they want, and may have to face the typical elements of peer pressure along the way, are shown as being totally capable of making well educated decisions for themselves. It’s surprisingly refreshing to see, and makes for an unpredictable viewing, even if we may have seen it before from the other angle.

Blockers is very much the film of the time, and looks set to surprise audiences when it hits Australian cinemas on 29th March. Stay tuned to closer to the date for our full review and our interviews with the cast and crew!