No Hard Feelings

  • 08 Jul - 14 Jul, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Yes, the storyline of No Hard Feelings seems implausible from the start – girl is broke, girl needs car, girl strikes agreement with boy's parents to steal his virginity for the price of a Buick Regal (when has that ever, ever happened?). But hidden beneath the profanity, wiener jokes, and slapstick antics is a surprisingly touching story about friendship and what it means to mature.

Despite the fact that the setup suggests Percy will be learning the language of love from Maddie, it turns out that they both have a lot to learn from one another. As the bashful youngster who follows rules and whose naivety is a result of his parents' over-coddling and who breaks out in worried hives at the first sight of romantic contact, Andrew Feldman impresses in his first significant part and is genuinely moving. He's a character of contradictions, though; the idea that his parents would use Maddie in this way is already implausible, yet the ease with which Percy interacts with her reveals he isn't as socially awkward as the bargain feasibly imply.

Jennifer Lawrence is hilarious when given the freedom to be herself in her funniest light. She shows off her athletic prowess and exudes an air of unbridled confidence. Some of Maddie's antics include struggling to roller skate up a hill, unintentionally punching herself in the throat, and grappling with would-be robbers while completely naked on the beach. She seemed to be having a fantastic time while making a solid commitment. Her dramatic skills are also on display as Maddie begins to open up to Percy about her family's tragedies and her problems with commitment.

The majority of No Hard Feelings' humorous moments in the trailer fall flat, with the exception of a few one-liners that are successful completely because of Lawrence and the cast's excellent delivery. There are humorous set-pieces all through, but they don't gain enough momentum to make you laugh out loud; they just make you smile. But it's enough to keep you interested, and a supporting cast that includes Matthew Broderick in a wigged-up linen outfit as Percy's father Laird (a name that sparks a genuinely funny exchange) and Natalie Morales and Scott MacArthur as Maddie's surfer friends all contribute to the overall laughter.

Undoubtedly uncomfortable, the age gap between Percy, 19, and Maddie, 32, is something the movie frequently discusses. Maddie is frequently confronted with the generational divide between her and Percy's peers, but because of her immaturity, she frequently comes off as childlike in comparison. The movie also offers us way more to think about philosophically than it really needed to: Maddie's only in serious financial trouble because of her hometown's gentrification; Percy's self-imposed solitude speaks to a particularly Gen-Z kind of dread. No Hard Feelings has a predictable ending, but it also makes you feel some really good emotions along the way.

No Hard Feelings is predictable but entertaining, propelled by the lead actors' endearing chemistry, and is much better appreciated as an unusual relationship tale than the filthy comedy it's marketed as.