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June 21, 2023 / Sony Pictures Canada

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Feldman, Laura Benanti, Natalie Morales, Matthew Broderick

Directed By: Gene Stupnitsky

On the brink of losing her childhood home, Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers an intriguing job listing: wealthy helicopter parents (Matthew Broderick, Laura Benanti) looking for someone to "date" their introverted 19-year-old son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), before he leaves for Princeton. To her surprise, Maddie soon discovers the awkward Percy is no sure thing.

Written By Darren

Rating 4 out of 5

No Hard Feelings is the laugh out loud and surprisingly feel good comedy of the summer as audiences are treated to an sensational and hilarious performance from Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence as she tries to seduce a nineteen year old boy, calling back to the great R rated comedies of yesteryear!

It’s hard to fathom that Jennifer Lawrence has yet to star in a raunchy comedy film up to this point in her career. She’s won an Academy Award, played characters that act as comedic relief in films like American Hustle, lead two major Hollywood franchises, and even starred in the severely underrated horror film House at the End of the Street, but never has she done a studio comedy. Which is shocking considering every interview she gives is absolutely hilarious! Luckily, this severe oversight has been corrected with Sony’s latest R rated comedy No Hard Feelings, which is a throwback to the raunchy comedies of the late 1990s and early 2000s that used to overpopulate the summer release calendar. And with Lawrence in the starring role, the film is easily one of the most entertaining and enjoyable theatrical experiences you will have this summer!

Willing to do anything to prevent her home from being taken away from her by the state for unpaid taxes after her car is towed away, Maddie responds to a Craigslist ad of a couple looking for a young woman to date their nineteen year old son and bring him out of his shell. Maddie thinks this will be an easy job, merely just having to sleep with the teenager to get her a new car so she can go back to being an uber driver until she meets the boy. Percy is not sure how to handle a very attractive woman, flirting hard with him, forcing Maddie to take her plan slowly to make a man out of Percy. Unfortunately, Maddie only has the summer to turn Percy into a man, get the car and save her house, forcing her to get creative on how to make this young man want to spend the night with her.

For a film with a premise of a thirty year old woman trying to sleep with a nineteen year old, the screenplay of No Hard Feelings is not what you expect. The first act is the truly raunchy R rated comedy you expect of it, with Lawrence heavily trying to seduce Andrew Barth Feldman’s Percy with all the usual sticks you would expect from the genre. It’s a wildly entertaining first act that hits all the right notes, delivering some truly hilarious moments that will have audiences erupting into laughter. But as the film progresses beyond the first act, the story too evolves beyond its initial premise. We get glimpses of the romantic comedy genre as Maddie and Percy begin to develop real feelings for each other, while the third act moves beyond the comedy plot and becomes a heartwarming character piece about two individuals shedding their shells and insecurities and becoming the person they were destined to become. There is a surprising amount of heart throughout the film in between truly outrageous and hilarious gags, that is almost certain to leave a massive smile on your face because this truly is a feel good film underneath all of the filth. As for the film’s destination, there is no surprise as to where the story is going to end, but it is such a fun time getting there that this is certain to be a hit with audiences this summer.

As much as the screenplay creates a wonderful story and excellent jokes, this film belongs to Lawrence. Within seconds of the film starting and seeing her on screen trying to convince her ex-boyfriend not to tow her car away, Lawrence dazzles. She is compelling in every scene, drawing you into her character’s struggles and rooting for her to turn her life around, despite her trying to seduce a teenager, which rubs off on the audience as well, before dropping a completely crude one liner that will leave you in hysterics! It is her killer comedic abilities that make this film the comedic tour de force it is, finally allowing Lawrence to crack jokes and be the funny individual we see her be on every press tour of her career. Needless to say, I will be campaigning for Lawrence to keep acting in these raunchy comedies going forward, because as much as I love her performances in films that could win her another Academy Award, there was something truly special and infectious about her energy in this comedy that it is something that every comedy needs going forward.

Opposite Lawrence is Feldman, and he was a delightful casting choice for the role. Quickly capturing the social awkwardness of Percy, Feldman instantly becomes that person we all know who is so sweet and innocent, and the mixing of him with Lawrence’s Maddie is comedic gold. The two of them have a great banter back and forth on screen during the comedic moments, but there is a deep connection formed between them on screen that helps develop the story’s heart. It is most evident while Feldman is performing Hall and Oates “Maneater” for Lawrence’s character, which is one of the sweetest moments of the entire film, and allows Feldman to tap into his Broadway roots. The supporting cast is bursting with comedic talent with the likes of Matthew Broderick, Laura Benanti, Kyle Mooney, Natalie Morales, Scott MacArthur, and Hasan Minhaj, each given their standout moment, though none of the can distract from the cosmic pull of Lawrence and Feldman who are the sole focus of the film.

Bound to be one of the best comedies of the summer, and even potentially of the year, No Hard Feelings is a comedic blast from start to finish! Calling back to the raunchy R rated comedies of years gone by while packing an infectious heart to its story that will leave a massive smile on your face, No Hard Feelings soars thanks to the incredible comedic talents of Jennifer Lawrence, proving that she should only star in comedies from here on out.

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