Geraldine embraces girl power in raunchy comedy
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.