Kay Cannon, the writer and architect of the groundbreaking Pitch Perfect movies has proved that comedies about strong, dynamic women could pull huge audiences of female fans at the box office.
With her directorial debut in Universal Pictures’ sex comedy Blockers, Cannon has become only the sixth woman in the history of film to direct a big R-rated studio comedy.
In the film, when three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. As nonstop helicoptering struggles with awkwardly letting go, the well-meaning trio shares in the raucous comedy that accompanies their kids’ biggest step into adulthood.
Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) are thrown together by fate—or rather their daughters becoming fast friends on the first day of kindergarten. As their inseparable girls grow into ride-or-die young adults, the trio of parents becomes de facto commiserates, sharing in their kids’ special moments, from birthdays and teen heartaches to first dances and now prom.
“I had been itching to direct for a long time,” she confesses. “Women don’t get an opportunity like this often and I was excited for the chance.”
When making her directorial debut, it was also important to choose a film that would one day resonate with her daughter. “Even though my daughter’s still young, I wanted to direct a film that she could eventually see herself in,” Cannon says. “I was waiting for a story that shows young women in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”
The story of Blockers appealed to Cannon because it wasn’t a typical ‘high-school sex movie.’ “It shows young women taking control of their own sexuality, and confronts the sexual double standard,” she shares. “Right away, I wanted to do this.”
For far too long, films have been made about young men’s firsts. With Blockers, young women finally have a rollicking film about their own sexual experience that’s equally relatable. The scene where the young women make the sex pact is a favorite for Cannon because it sounds like a conversation that could be overheard in any high school cafeteria. “They’re silly; they’re crass; they curse,” she offers. “They talk about sex in ways that we haven’t seen young women talk about it, at least not in high school.”
Cannon hopes that this story that explores sexuality from several angles will prompt audiences of all ages to start a long-overdue conversation about sex, responsibility and respecting the choices of young women.
She offers, “I didn’t talk about sex growing up at all. It was abstinence and that’s it. Maybe you wouldn’t want to see this movie sitting next to your parents because there are a lot of dirty jokes, but my dream for this film is to get people laughing and then talking. I would love that.”