Universal Pictures latest comedy, Blockers puts a new spin on the age-old premise of parents worried about their kids having sex. The R-rated comedy has already created a stir, and early reviews for the film are impressive. Currently, Blockers is sitting comfortable with a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s rare for a raunchy comedy to score well with critics but Blockers could be one of the best comedies of the year.
What’s really surprising, is that Blockers doesn’t boast what most would consider an A-List cast. Sure, Jon Cena is one of the most famous people on the planet, but he’s still building his film career. And while she’s not Blockers leading lady is one of the most bankable comedic actors working today in Leslie Mann. For the last 20 years, Leslie Mann has been a staple of the comedy genre. She landed her first big comedic role in the 1996 cult-classic The Cable Guy. While Jim Carrey was the stand-out of the film, Leslie Mann was delightful. She proved that she knew how to mesh with her co-stars, while also balancing the scales of Carey’s insanity and Matthew Broderick’s passive whimpering.
A year after The Cable Guy premiered, Mann married writer/director Judd Apatow. At the time, Apatow was getting steady work, but his biggest claim to fame was writing credits on Heavyweights and The Cable Guy. In 1997, she nabbed the lead opposite Brendan Fraser in the Sam Weisman directed film, George of the Jungle. Unfortunately, the film lacked the charm of its source material, and like George it basically swung into a tree.
Soon after, however, Mann finally got a chance to spread her wings in the hit Adam Sandler film Big Daddy. Mann played Corinne Maloney in the film, who was often mocked by Sandler’s character because she had previously worked at Hooters. While that style of comedy is pretty sexist and outdated by modern standards, it was a huge hit in 1999.
Mann didn’t have a huge role in Big Daddy, but she began to show audiences that she was a comedic heavyweight. Her ability to complement her colleagues while still holding own made her talent priceless. She continued to hone her craft in the TV series Freaks and Geeks, which was cancelled far too soon. In 2002, Mann landed a role alongside Colin Hanks and Jack Black in Orange County. She also teamed up with Tom Green and Jason Lee in the film Stealing Harvard. In both films, Mann was extremely charming and a pure joy to watch.
By the time 2005 rolled around, both Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow had become successful. They weren’t, however, prepared for the success of the The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Even 13 years later, the film is considered one of the best comedies of all time. It launched Apatow’s career to new heights and Leslie Mann earned her place in the halls of comedy. Just like in Big Daddy, Mann’s role was small, but she was one of the highlights of the film. Her character Nicky was a bit different from Mann’s usual fare, but she played the drunk-driving, unbalanced and manic woman to a T.
After she crushed it in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Mann’s career took off. She elevated the hit film Knocked Up with her talent; the role was the first time we saw what we consider Mann to be now. She was funny, and completely natural. Not many comedy performances are natural now, but that’s precisely what Leslie Mann does. Her comedy was effortless and her chemistry with Paul Rudd was insane. Their pairing seemed like a real marriage which happened to be funny from time to time. Apatow also used his and Mann’s kids, Maude and Iris, as her character’s kids in the film, which helped make the family dynamic feel more real.
In Knocked Up, Mann truly found her stride; afterward she was able to bring her authentic comedy to morefilms. From 2007 to 2016, Mann appeared in I Love You Phillip Morris, Funny People, The Change-Up, This Is 40, The Bling Ring, How To Be Single and more. She also became a prolific voice actor with roles in Rio, ParaNorman, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Rio 2.
The takeaway is that Mann is ready to hit another level – she’s one of the best working, and brings something unique to the table. Mann remains underrated and undervalued as an actress, even as she brings heat. Hopefully, our unsung hero will blow audiences away in Blockers and she will finally get the praise she deserves.
You can see Blockers when it hits theaters on April 6, 2018.