Lewd and raucous, Blockers never loses sight of characters' journeys of self-discovery

Gideon Adlon, Kathryn Newton and Geraldine Viswanathan in Blockers
Damon Smith

FORGET the sugar and spice and all things nice. The girls in Pitch Perfect screenwriter Kay Cannon's filthy-minded directorial debut are full of sexually suggestive emojis, bold self-expression and a generous smattering of insecurities.

They are doyennes of social media, who talk openly about their feelings and have fewer sexual hang-ups than their emotionally bruised parents, whose vigour has been eroded by failed marriages, financial responsibility and the fear of growing old.

Blockers engineers a hilarious battle of wits between these two generations during one eventful prom night.

Less raunchy and riotous than Girls Trip but aimed at a similar if slightly younger audience, Cannon's potty-mouthed comedy tempers the bittersweet with the saltiness of some outrageous set pieces including a bout of full-frontal roleplay that leaves nothing to the imagination.

The film's depiction of empowered, self-aware young women, who call the shots about when they will lose their virginity, is extremely timely.

Naughtiness sexts niceness throughout Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe's warm-hearted script, which is punctuated with poignant scenes of self-reflection and parental pride.

The three spunky heroines, who are poised to leave for college, are best friends Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon).

This sisterly solidarity sows the seeds of friendship between Julie's single mother Lisa (Leslie Mann), Kayla's sports-obsessed father Mitchell (John Cena) and Sam's brash father Hunter (Ike Barinholtz).

Bidding farewell to their pride and joys on prom night, Lisa, Mitchell and Hunter discover that their girls have forged a pact to have sex for the first time with their prom dates.

"It's going to be such a relief to get this over and done with before college," remarks Julie.

The concerned parents make their own vow – to prevent their daughters from giving away something so precious as their virginity.

While Julie, Kayla and Sam bounce between parties with beaux Austin (Graham Philips), Connor (Miles Robbins), Chad (Jimmy Bellinger), the girls' parents find themselves in uncompromising and deeply embarrassing positions.

The crazy misadventure climaxes with an uncomfortably close encounter with Austin's sexually adventurous parents (Gary Cole, Gina Gershon) that gives new meaning to taking a situation firmly in hand.

Meanwhile, Sam wrestles with her attraction to classmate Angelica (Ramona Young) and the ramifications of coming out to her gal pals.

Blockers delivers a generous smattering of belly laughs between sensitively handled soul-searching.

Newton, Viswanathan and Adlon are instantly lovable high school heroines while the older cast are game for a laugh as punchlines to filthy comic set-pieces.

Cena is literally the butt of one unapologetically lewd gag.

The script never loses sight of the students' journeys of self-discovery and fulfilment.

Girls just wanna have fun – on their own terms.

BLOCKERS (15, 102 mins) Comedy/Drama/Romance. Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon, Graham Philips, Miles Robbins, Jimmy Bellinger, Gary Cole, Gina Gershon, Ramona Young. Director: Kay Cannon

Released: March 30 (UK & Ireland)

RATING: 7/10

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