No Hard Feelings Review

Saturday 24 June 2023

Plot: On the brink of losing her home, Maddie finds an intriguing job listing: helicopter parents looking for someone to bring their introverted 19-year-old son out of his shell before college. She has one summer to make him a man or die trying.

Film: No Hard Feelings

Director: Gene Stupnitsky

Writers: Gene Stupnitsky, John Phillips

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman

This is not a love story. That’s the tagline of the film and I feel like it’s something important to clarify for anyone thinking the plot is a little risky in the terms of pairing a character who is thirty-two, Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) with a canonically inexperienced nineteen-year-old, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman). I was a little unsure about No Hard Feelings when I first sat down in the screen, but with nothing else to do on a Saturday afternoon I did what any avid cinemagoer would do and watch the only thing showing that I hadn’t already seen. 

I feel like finding a good comedy film is just as difficult as finding a good horror film in this day and age, I definitely don’t watch as many comedies as I do horrors but I’m glad I ventured out for this one. Jennifer Lawrence is an absolute natural when it comes to comedy, years of watching her in interviews and behind the scenes clips have proven that, so to get her really embracing that was refreshing to see. Having already played a mutant, the face of a rebellion, a sparrow and a passenger stranded in space -Lawrence has proved she can act, No Hard Feelings won’t be the film to earn awards, but I think it’ll be the one to bring J-Law back to the forefront of people’s minds and firmly into the position of comedienne. 

This was the first time I have seen a performance from Andrew Barth Feldman, but I was impressed enough with his performance that I’ll remember his name for the future. His character Percy starts out as a caricature of an awkward teenage boy but by the end of the film he’s grown and there’s a notable difference in the way he talks and carries himself, so Feldman has done his job in telling Percy’s story. 

While undeniably a comedy, there’s also a coming-of-age element to the film for Percy and a re-coming of age for Maddie who has to decide if her future resides in the town she’s always known or somewhere new. No Hard Feelings manages to balance the existential crisis of the two characters with just enough humour to keep the pace moving steadily. Some of my favourite comedy moments coming from Maddie’s friends and couple Jim (Scott MacArthur) and Sara (Natalie Morales). Granted its predictable humour, Sara is pregnant and mad at Jim about everything, but it works in contrast to Maddie’s single life and MacArthur’s delivery is always spot on. 

Feldman and Lawrence have the right chemistry for their roles and by the end of the film you’re left feeling good about what they achieved together. Go into this film expecting a good time and to turn your brain of for a couple of hours and you won’t be disappointed.  

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