Nothing can bring you closer than letting go.

Blockers, the directorial debut of Pitch Perfect screenwriter Kay Cannon, opens in wide release this weekend. Its energetic and outlandish onslaught of raunchy comedy is nicely balanced by an unexpected heart that sets the film apart from the current crop of set piece-driven comedies.

Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon) are pretty ordinary teenagers living in the Chicago suburbs. With prom night approaching they make a pact – the will each lose their virginity on prom night. Julie is ready to take the step with her boyfriend, Kayla is ready to hook up with her lab partner and Sam…well Sam’s prom date may not be the gender she’s in which she’s interested.

When Kayla’s dad Mitchell (John Cena), Julie’s mother Lisa (Leslie Mann) and Sam’s dad Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) discover the pact between their daughters, their reactions are mixed. Mitchell is afraid of his little girl losing her virginity to a guy with a man-bun he barely knows. Lisa is trying to hold on to the last bits of her mother-daughter relationship before college starts. Sam is worried that his daughter is about to do something that she doesn’t want to with the wrong gender for her.

With these various motives in place, the trio of parents set off into prom night in order to track down their kids and prevent them from having sex. They quickly end up in over their heads as they are thrust into a world of high school debauchery that’s more John Waters than it is John Hughes.

Blockers is extremely heavy on raunch and set-pieces. There’s a new trend emerging in studio comedies where humorous set pieces are treated almost like action sequences in comic book movies – they come early and often and there’s never much time to let the characters breath and develop in between the wild hijinks that blow up the big screen.

This film definitely falls into that new comedy genre, but manages to outdo the norm in the way it handles character and delivers a level of depth in their relationships that has been missing from big screen comedies of late. In a film whose premise promises to be an out-of-touch “girls having sex panic” film, we actually get a level of nuance and subtlety to the reason behind the “blocking” that are both unexpected and relatable.

It’s through the parents’ deep-seated concern for their daughters’ well-beings (outside of the sexist notion of not wanting a girl to lose her virginity) and their kids’ own insecurities, that the film explores common ground between the generations and establishes a level of pathos sorely missing from studio comedies such as this.

The cast all does an excellent job, particularly Barinholtz who continues to show comedic acting chops that should see him ranked among the elite comedic actors working right now. Cena shows that he is capable of headlining a film despite still showing signs of being a novice actor in the middle of a transition from the squared circle to the big screen.

Blockers is a high-energy film with a surprising amount of heart. The set pieces and characters deliver plenty of laughs without ever favoring the humor too much over the character development and emotional core of the feel that allows for a real connection beyond just the humor.

And that connection is essential.