Warwick Daily News - - Weekend - WORDS: SEANNA CRONIN

The tug-of-war be­tween grad­u­at­ing high school­ers and their par­ents is rich com­edy fod­der in Block­ers. The raunchy prom night romp fol­lows three par­ents who stum­ble upon their daugh­ters’ pact to lose their vir­gin­ity on the all-im­por­tant night and launch a covert oper­a­tion to stop them from seal­ing the deal. In the same vein as films like The

Han­gover, Hor­ri­ble Bosses and Bad Neigh­bours, Block­ers uses wild party night an­tics, nu­dity and slap­stick stunts to elicit a steady string of laughs.

Aus­tralian ac­tress Geral­dine Viswanathan, 22, makes her US film de­but in the com­edy. One fourth of the com­edy sketch troupe Freudian Nip, Geral­dine found her­self on the same set as rom com vet­eran Leslie Mann and co­me­dian Ike Bar­in­holtz.

“I felt con­fi­dent in the sense that I had done stand-up and sketches, and I had some ex­pe­ri­ence in writ­ing. So, in­tel­lec­tu­ally, I was like ‘Yeah I got this’, but emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally I was ter­ri­fied, and so ner­vous the whole time,” she says.

The di­rect­ing de­but of TV pro­ducer and

Pitch Per­fect co-screen­writer Kay Can­non, Block­ers is be­ing hailed as a fem­i­nist take on the raunchy teen com­ing-of-age film.

Fol­low­ing three teenage girls as they take con­trol of their own sex­u­al­ity and how and when they want to lose their vir­gin­ity,

Block­ers’ re­lease seems aus­pi­ciously timed with the re­cent #metoo move­ment.

But it was the hu­mour and au­then­tic­ity of the di­a­logue that ini­tially im­pressed Viswanathan.

“That (fem­i­nist an­gle) didn’t re­ally hit me un­til I watched the film and I saw the au­di­ence re­ac­tion,” she says.

“When I read the script I liked the fe­male char­ac­ters. I felt like I knew them and they were easy to re­late to. I thought the way they spoke to each other was very au­then­tic as to how I speak with my friends. I didn’t re­alise how ex­cit­ing it would be, and kind of re­fresh­ing, un­til I saw it on screen.”

Viswanathan stars op­po­site John Cena, who plays Kayla’s over-pro­tec­tive dad Mitchell. Like Dwayne “The Rock” John­son, Cena has made the tran­si­tion from pro­fes­sional wrestling to the big screen.

“There’s some­thing about that wrestling back­ground and train­ing that makes these amaz­ing per­form­ers and im­pro­vis­ers and co­me­di­ans,” Viswanathan says.

“John was awe­some to work with. He is re­ally smart, and his work ethic is just so im­pres­sive and in­spir­ing. He treats ev­ery­one around him with re­spect, which I re­ally ad­mire, and he’s just re­ally funny.”

The New­cas­tle na­tive found par­al­lels be­tween the sports-mad Kayla’s up­bring­ing and her own.

“I’m from a bi-racial fam­ily and that’s re­ally cool to see in this movie,” she says.

“My dad does share some sim­i­lar qual­i­ties with Mitchell. He is very as­pi­ra­tional, and is al­ways en­cour­ag­ing me to be the best ver­sion of my­self.

“I also feel like my dad, strangely, has sim­i­lar sen­si­bil­i­ties to Mitch. He’s a big guy too and sur­pris­ingly sen­si­tive. But my dad’s more like ‘I don’t want to hear it’ whereas Mitch is more hands on and in­serts him­self into sit­u­a­tions.”

Viswanathan be­lieves Aussie teens will be able to re­late to this film, de­spite its prom night tropes.

“The Year 12 for­mal, for me, was some­thing huge to look for­ward to and so stress­ful,” she says. “It was this last hur­rah be­fore you all go your sep­a­rate ways. I was re­ally ex­cited for the for­mal, and I think Aus­tralian high school­ers can re­late to it in that sense.”

Block­ers is in cin­e­mas now

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