Jennifer Lawrence aka J-Law is bringing Sexy (goofy and funny) back to the big screen in ‘No Hard Feelings’. Has she created a new genre, the ‘Raunch Com’!?
I remember a time when we couldn’t turn round without a raunchy adult comedy hitting our screens, and some of them were great (I’m looking at you guys’ Hangover & Bridesmaids) These days we get maybe one or two a year and those are of questionable quality. Bearing that in mind, I was more than a little excited when the first trailer for No Hard Feelings arrived, especially as it looked very funny. I just hoped they hadn’t shown all the best jokes in the trailer
No Hard feelings comes to us from director Gene Stupnitsky and stars Jennifer Lawrence as Maddie, she’s attractive, tough but emotionally unavailable. She appears to have a line of guys she has ghosted after they got to close and prefers to have relationships with very short life spans.
Her circumstances change and she faces the real prospect of losing her house. Her income is slashed after her car is seized, preventing her from working as an Uber driver. All seems lost until she sees an advert from a couple asking for someone to help their 19yr old son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) come out of his shell before going to college. This is to be achieved by ‘dating’ him. In exchange, Maddie will receive what she needs most right now- a car.
Percy’s parents Laird and Allison (Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti) believe that getting their son to lose his virginity before college will give him confidence and open him up to the world of possibilities that college will present.
At this point, I’ll like to pause and address the elephant in the room. While zany plotlines like this would have worked very well in the 80s/90s and even early 2000s, society has changed and is a lot more critical. The idea of asking someone who is struggling financially to have sex for a car?! Also, while not illegal, age gap relationships both on male and female sides tend to draw unfavourable opinions from sets of society and with the ravenous Internet community, I feel it might come up.
Personally, I think it worked fine for the story but that could just because many men as teenage boys had fantasies about being seduced by beautiful older women. If it were the other way round, say a 32yr old man asked to take a 19yr old girls’ virginity, would I be that comfortable?
While No Hard Feelings does have many funny moments, it’s not the laugh a minute type of comedy. Infact some parts of it were more drama than comedy. Maddie is a tragic character, down on her luck and unable to maintain relationships due to her personal issues. Its unusual in a film of this kind to find a fully rounded and complex character. Jennifer Lawrence delivers in spades in this role and it’s a testament to a great actress being able to go from hot and sexy in one scene, to a goofy class clown in the next then deliver a serious and dramatic scene in the third.
What happened when Jennifer Lawrence screen clashed with Margot Robbie? Find out here
For a raunchy adult comedy, there are many of the usual tropes you would find in this sort of movie but what I found interesting is how they flipped some of the conventions. Normally we find geeky young men trying to find a way to lose their virginity and going through all sorts of high jinks to get there. This is flipped on its head as the ‘hot’ girl is trying to get the geeky young man into bed and he is refusing to ‘put out’ unless he feels a connection. The inclusion of Matthew Broderick as Percys dad was a nice nod to some of the original rebellious teen moves from the 80s like Ferris Buellers day off.
The film is rated ‘R’ and while there are swears and some nudity, there’s very little actual sex or ‘gross out humour’, in that way the movie was actually quite tame. Infact many jokes are made at the expense of the current generation of young people for their lack of rebelliousness. They only have house parties with their parents’ permission, sneaking up to bedrooms not to have sex but to play on their devices and they very quickly whip out their phones to record and report your inappropriate joke or ‘bullying’.
Find out what the other Top Movies of June 2023 were here
My initial fear was unfortunately proven right as many of the funniest scenes were featured in the trailers but that doesn’t mean there weren’t one or two surprises (I was certainly not expecting that beach fight scene!) But overall having watched the trailers didn’t dimmish my enjoyment of the movie. It wasn’t hilarious but it was funny, surprisingly sweet at times with a few dramatic serious moments.
Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t carry the film by herself, the supporting cast hold their own but her commitment to the role and comedic timing really did keep me engaged through out-this was definitely the J.Law show. Sometimes Oscar winners and ‘serious actors’ take roles like this to pay a few bills and then phone in a performance but that’s certainly not the case here. No Hard Feelings manages to be a raunchy comedy that’s not afraid to show its feelings nor shy away from dramatic serious moments.
Watch the full Trailer here
Want to see a more serious Jennifer Lawrence? Read the review for Causeway here