Despite some worrisome trailers, Kay Cannon’s Blockers proved a raunchy and wild comedy that was full of heart and surprisingly woke! Its story about three parents attempting to cockblock their teen daughters on prom night spun into stories about mother-daughter bonding, father-daughter distancing, and a lesbian love story that’s nowhere to be found in its marketing material. And while all of the “teen” cast is stupendous in Blockers, this promotional exclusion means this sharp comedy was hiding its secret weapon: Ramona Young.
Young plays the crush of closeted nerd girl Sam (a beguiling Gideon Adlon). Not even Sam’s besties know she’s gay, so when she’s flustered over their #SexPact2018, they assume it’s about losing her virginity, when actually it’s about being comfortable with herself. Her date is a decidedly sweet kid, who is perfectly goofy with his fedora and overeager smile. But he doesn’t make her heart skip a beat or her lions roar. Then we see Angelica.
Her skin is flawless, her face alight with a beatific smile, and unapologetically glittery eye-makeup that trickles up to her forehead and down to her blushing cheeks. Angelica’s hair is cut into a bob and dyed a trendy silver/grey. And she’s wearing a velvet cape that she made herself for a Lord of the Rings cosplay. But it was too pretty not to wear again, right?
Often in teen movies, filmmakers depend on archetypes for crushes, to swiftly establish why our hero is heartstruck. They’re the popular and handsome but nice jock. They’re the popular and hot but not (yet) so nice cheerleader. Sometimes, they’re a lovable nerd who’s hot once you take their glasses off. But Cannon didn’t rely on an easy archetype for Angelica, perhaps realizing she was breaking ground. Too few teen movies focus on a gay girl’s first crush. And rather than giving us a typically hot cheerleader, an edgy punk girl (think About a Boy), she gave us a character not-so-easy to pin down. Yes, Angelica is a theater kid, who clearly has confidence as she wears a cape to school. But she lacks the almost exasperating exhibitionism and smothering enthusiasm that theater kids tend to be assigned.
Instead, Angelica is just proudly who she is. She’s a theater kid who loves cosplay, capes, standing out in a crowd, and she’s gay. All of this is treated matter-of-factly, but it shines like a beacon to Sam, who craves that kind of self-confidence and the girl who positively glows with it. Young is radiant in the role. When Angelica gently flirts with Sam, fingering her long curly locks, while giving a warm smile, we swoon too. Even if audiences may not get Angelica’s look or are denied the access to a classic teen-comedy archetype, her charisma is undeniable, and we instantly root for Sam to speak up and flirt back!
And for those of you thinking, “I’ve seen this girl before!” Yup. Ramona Young is Ramona from Santa Clarita Diet, the drug store employee who’s placidly giving unintentional life advice to the flustered Hammond family, and who reveals her own shocking secret life in season two. She also played Kaya on Z Nation and Allison on The Real O’Neals, two shows I’ve heard are worthwhile and yet haven’t caught. But all the same, Blockers and Santa Clarita Diet has me hopeful we’ll be seeing more of Young.
In the former, she’s given queer girls a sensational screen crush that is canonically queer, and inarguably awesome. And in the latter, she obviously impressed the show’s makers so much that they amped up her role in its second season. So, hopefully, it won’t be long before we’re seeing this stellar supporting character stepping into some lead roles. May I suggest a rom-com? Bonus points if it’s queer and Cannon-directed.
Header image: Photo credit: Quantrell D. Colbert (c) 2018 Universal. All Rights Reserved.
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