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Universal’s new comedy ‘Blockers’ asks parents, “Will you do anything for love?”

The film delivers all the gross-out humor of high school with the warmth of coming-of-age.

Leslie+Mann+and+Ike+Barinholtz+play+controlling+parents+trying+to+protect+their+children+in+the+new+film+%22Blockers.%22
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Universal’s new comedy ‘Blockers’ asks parents, “Will you do anything for love?”

Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz play controlling parents trying to protect their children in the new film

Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz play controlling parents trying to protect their children in the new film "Blockers."

Courtesy of IMDB

Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz play controlling parents trying to protect their children in the new film "Blockers."

Courtesy of IMDB

Courtesy of IMDB

Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz play controlling parents trying to protect their children in the new film "Blockers."

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One of the most timeless moments in any high schooler’s life is prom night. Between the clothing, finding a date and figuring out transportation, the one part everyone worries about is how the night will end.

The new comedy “Blockers” follows Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), Sam (Gideon Adlon) and Julie (Kathryn Newton), three childhood friends who make a pact to lose their virginities on prom night, only for their parents, Mitchell (John Cena), Lisa (Leslie Mann) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz), to discover the plan and devise their own to stop them.

The writer’s room for this film is filled with comedic talent, including Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg of the “Harold and Kumar” trilogy, and director Kay Cannon of the “Pitch Perfect” trilogy. Each bring their unique styles of comedy to deliver a fresh take on the familiar teen sex comedy formula.

A key theme in the film is the strength a woman has in making decisions for herself, especially in regard to her sexuality. So many other films in this genre focus on sex-mad males on prom night, whereas this movie highlights young women choosing to embrace their adulthood by losing their virginities.

As the film progresses, we see the lead men have their eyes opened to the hypocrisy of their goal. One key moment comes when Marcie (Sarayu Blue), Mitchell’s wife and Kayla’s mom, points out the double-standard mindset that if three boys were in the same situation, the parents would have no problem letting them lose their virginities.

Not only does this scene work well in opening the audience’s eyes to this backwards mindset, but it also helps deliver a few laughs. Barinholtz acts as the main comic relief in this scene, as he explains his reasons on why they need to stop the girls and, uses subtle facial expressions as he slowly realizes the double standard in his logic.

One of the most important plot points in the film, however, is Sam’s struggle to fully embrace her  lesbian identity. The entirety of Sam’s night conflicting over how to reveal her secret and fear of losing her friends is such a relevant connection to modern society.

The moment in which she comes out to her father is such a sweet and tender moment because though he’s known since the start of the movie, he still acts oblivious and fully supportive. What follows in the finale of Sam’s subplot is a beautiful and warm message of acceptance to all those going through the same predicament.

When the film isn’t illustrating relevant feminine themes, it’s delivering all of the gross-out laughs the writers and producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg of “Neighbors” are known for, including the unforgettable moment of Cena taking a beer bong right down main street, as Deadpool so elegantly put it.

This comedy is elevated by the stellar performances from the talented cast, many of whom are comedic veterans, while others are on a quick rise to stardom.

Mann has always been known for her outrageous and slightly crazy roles, delivering hilariously over-the-top performances in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” and achieves success once again as the overbearing mother not ready to let her daughter leave her side.

Barinholtz shines in a different kind of performance than usual, as he’s been known for his sleazier roles in “Neighbors” and “Bright,” and while he brings this quirk to the role, he also delivers some quietly powerful moments as he seeks to eliminate his deadbeat status and become a loving father again.

Cena has been in the acting game for 12 years, but it wasn’t until about three years ago he exploded into comedy with his acclaimed performance in “Trainwreck.” He continues to show off his comedic talents in this film, as he brilliantly blends his macho persona with the more sensitive side of the over-attached father.

While all three daughters soar in their own rights, Viswanathan and Adlon shine as the funniest and most fascinating to watch. Adlon embraces her characters’ identity struggle well, and Viswanathan perfectly plays the experimental and party-addicted teen trying to enjoy life.

Though there are moments in the film reminiscent of other similar genre entries, such as “American Pie,” “Blockers” finds its own voice to deliver a hilarious and moving coming-of-age film set to become an instant classic.

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