Wednesday, June 21, 2023

No Hard Feelings

No Hard Feelings is your basic convoluted romcom centered around an awkward pairing that pushes characters through a series of contrived and embarrassing moments for a mix of laughs and groans. I'll give stars Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman some credit here for managing to squeeze out as many laughs as possible.

In a script not dissimilar to 2006's Failure to Launch, a pair of concerned parents (Laura Benanti and Matthew Broderick) hire Maddie (Lawrence) to get their son Percy (Feldman) out of his shell. Maddie, a selfish thirtysomething bartender and Uber driver in desperate need of cash, finds herself attempting to seduce an awkward 19 year-old boy unprepared to leave home for college. Neither No Hard Feelings nor Failure to Launch can't find a way to get around the inherent cruelty of the parents' betrayal, but at least the 2023 version has Lawrence who gives Maddie enough of a soul (even if the boy's young age creates some serious child-predator vibes early on, even to Percy).

There are some laughs to be had here, but most come from the absurdity of the completely unbelievable premise. I did enjoy Natalie Morales and Scott MacArthur as Maddie's friends, but the rest of the supporting cast is largely forgettable. Lawrence is slumming it big time for this film, but her presence is essential to add some gravitas to the emotional moments which the film sorely needs in order for us to take anything seriously. Nothing about the odd pairing feels natural, even in the third act when the pair have become friends just in time for the inevitable romcom truth reveal to reframe the story once again in a script so by-the-numbers you  wouldn't be surprised to learn if it was created by ChatGPT rather than professional screenwriters John Phillips and writer/director Gene Stupnitsky.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: No Hard Feelings
  • IMDb: link

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