11:00 am EDT, April 10, 2018

The unexpected connection between ‘Blockers’ and ‘Love, Simon’

Going into the new studio comedy Blockers, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect.

The trailer makes it seem like just another raunchy, broad comedy, but then reviews out of its premiere at SXSW had critics claiming otherwise. As it turns out, the comedy from director Kay Cannon and writers Brian and Jim Kehoe is quite the surprise for a couple reasons, the biggest being its connection to Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon.

The movie follows a trio of parents — played by Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena — who team up on the night of their daughters’ prom to break up their sex pact. The three young women have all decided it will be the night they lose their virginity.

Except early on, we learn one of the women, Sam (Gideon Adlon), has a crush on another girl at school and ends up only wanting to lose her virginity to a guy to know for sure that she’s a lesbian. It’s one of several storylines threaded through the raunchy hijinks that ensue as the three parents try to crash prom night. And apart from Leslie Mann as the single mother struggling to let go of her daughter Julie (Kathryn Newton), the Sam plot is the one that feels like it deserves its own movie.

Similar to Simon in Love, Simon who finds himself in a very specific predicament that forces him to come out to friends and family, same goes for Sam in Blockers. And it’s remarkable to have two studio movies within just a month of each other having a centerpiece scene around a son or daughter coming out to a loving and understanding parent.

The scene between Gideon Adlon’s Sam and her dad, played by Ike Barinholtz, is a surprisingly tender and affecting moment in a movie full of heavy drinking, sex, teen partying and projectile vomiting. And it is moments such as this sprinkled throughout that make Blockers work as well as it does, including a refreshingly contemporary angle on female sexuality and the double standard with the way we discuss sex for women and men.

Related: Love, Simon and the importance of an LGBTQ happy ending

Blockers joins a growing list of studio comedies that deliver not just laughs but a message as well. Of course there’s Love, Simon, but take a look at the upcoming Amy Schumer vehicle I Feel Pretty, as well. Female empowerment and tackling unrealistic beauty standards for women are the goals there, along with making audiences just have a good time.

Studio comedies are beginning to feel very of this moment and very 2018, as they should. Without such sentiment in a continuing culture about inclusiveness and acceptance that permeates the conversation now not as a nicety but as absolute necessity, something like Blockers could feel painfully out of touch. Luckily, that’s not the case.

If you want to see the truth about where we are at in contemporary culture, take a look at the comedies being made today. Blockers is a fine example of a studio comedy doing just that, and it’s especially nice to have a lesbian coming-out story within to pair nicely with Love, Simon.

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