Gene Stupnitsky follows up Good Boys with another winning comedy in No Hard Feelings and it’s one of the funniest comedies of the year.
I was laughing hysterically throughout No Hard Feelings. Maybe it’s because of the situations that Stupnitsky and co-writer John Phillips placed the two leads in but this one had me howling with laughter. Funny enough, we owe some thanks to an actual Craigslist ad that a pair of parents once posted. I’ve seen a hysterical Family Tree Boathouse improv show about an absurd Craigslist ad so I’m not surprised that filmmakers are turning to Craigslist postings for ideas. Hey, it’s better than anything AI could come up with! Comedies like this are exactly why they have alt-takes to improvise on set. The rewriting makes this film even stronger!
Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) is has no shortage of financial issues. She’s an Uber driver but is not making enough money to pay the property tax on her house. She’s lived in Montauk her entire life and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. When her car gets taken away, she finds herself attracted to a Craigslist listing that promises her a Buick in the end. The catch: Allison (Laura Benati) and Laird (Matthew Broderick) are looking for a woman in their early-to-mid 20s to “date” their son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman). Under no circumstance can Percy ever find out about this! Maddie might be older than what they want but she has the necessary maturity to break Percy out of his shell. However, Percy’s awkwardness makes it a harder task than Maddie would prefer. Will she get the car by the end of the summer? Watch the film for yourself!
There’s a whole lot more to say about the film but it’s hard without giving away spoilers. What I’ll say right now is that Maddie and Percy both grow in their own ways between the time we meet them and the end of the film. Maybe not the growth we expected from them but the two go on their own journeys. Again, this is a very funny film and it’s so nice to see Jennifer Lawrence having an opportunity to show off her comedy skills once again. I’ve seen her late night talk show appearances so I know that she can pull off a comedic performance. Plus, this is a film with dogs and you cannot go wrong with dogs in a movie.
I found myself bending over in my seat during the film from laughing so much. It’s that type of comedy and one that honestly demands a big screen experience. Jennifer Lawrence is having a lot of fun on screen and it shows in her performance.
The whole premise is absolutely absurd. In a way, it does speak to the differences between generations. People living on their phones and screens are not getting out enough–they’re staying inside where they become introverts. It shows the shows the lengths that people will go to save the things important to them. Percy just might be what Maddie needs but not for the reasons she thinks. That’s some of the fun in watching this ridiculously absurd comedy that offers a fun time to audiences. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence is one of the greatest actresses of her generation and she puts on a showcase performance in what may be her funniest role to date, even better than Don’t Look Up. I’d expect nothing less from the Oscar winner, who also produces the film.
This film required filmmakers to find the right actor for Percy. Andrew Barth Feldman is perfect in the role. He’s every bit the foil to Lawrence while also selling audiences on the idea that this kid is going to Princeton. He’s another reason why the film is so funny. His chemistry with Lawrence is absolutely perfect.
No Hard Feelings has the raunchy ingredients to be a hit summer comedy but moviegoing isn’t what it used to be. It’s harder to open a comedy now than it was back in 2019. If it doesn’t find an audience in theaters, it’ll certainly find an audience once it hits home video and streaming. No Hard Feelings will not disappoint you if raunchy coming-of-age comedies are your thing.
DIRECTOR: Gene Stupnitsky
SCREENWRITERS: Gene Stupnitsky & John Phillips
CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman, Laura Benanti, Natalie Morales, and Matthew Broderick
Sony will release No Hard Feelings in theaters on June 23, 2023. Grade: 4.5/5
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