No Hard Feelings is an uproarious comedy that happens to be super sweet.
Here is our review of the 2023 comedy film No Hard Feelings, which does not contain spoilers.
There’s something about the No Hard Feelings script that seems to capture the very nature of Jennifer Lawrence as a person. Yes, interviews on talk shows are a performance, to an extent.
The Oscar-winning actress always seems to leave her filter at home, making her a refreshing, honest, down-to-earth, kick-ass lady who is hysterically funny at times.
That’s essentially what you can expect from Gene Stupnitsky‘s follow-up to one of the funniest films of 2019, Good Boys. The former writer for The Office delivers a sophomore film that is seriously hilarious, combining sour yet super sweet antics that result in at least a dozen gut-busting belly laughs.
All while finding that sweet spot of arrested development regardless of age.
No Hard Feelings follows Maddie (Lawrence), a woman in her early thirties who has remained a party girl and is being priced out of her home. That’s because she is a local in a rich beachside community where the wealthy have bought properties, raising her property taxes to the point where she has a lien on her house.
It’s a home left to her by her mom, who raised Maddie as a single parent.
No Hard Feelings (2023) Review and Plot Summary
After having her car repossessed by a bitter ex (The Bear’s Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Maggie can no longer pay her bills as a ride-share driver for the wealthy summer dwellers.
Luckily, the parents (Matthew Broderick, Laura Benanti) of inexperienced and sensitive 19-year-old, Percy (a very funny Andrew Barth Feldman), place an ad to find a date for their son before he leaves for Princeton next fall.
That’s the crux of the story in No Hard Feelings, which struggles to get out of the first act with a slow start. To pay off her bills, the wealthy parents offer Maddie a used Buick Regal if she can help Percy come out of their shell.
A new, albeit sophomoric, take on The Graduate unfolds. For instance, they explore Percy’s exaggerated and extreme alienation, isolation, and identity.
However, the film begins to find its rhythm when Stupnitsky finds that ironic affection that develops between Maddie and Percy, who adorably wants to get to know Maddie as a person instead of getting in her pants as any teenager would.
There’s a refreshing sweetness between them, which derives from Lawrence’s comedic turn that ranges from raunchy to sorrowful.
Of course, based on comedic cliches and the rules of Hollywood, you need some eye-rolling moments to take a hardened character and make them more likable. For instance, the scene where Lawrence’s Maddie gives her best friend a gift, played by Dead to Me‘s Natalie Morales, is laughable.
The added scene makes the experience more saccharine than it has to be.
Is No Hard Feelings (2023) good or bad?
No Hard Feelings is a good comedy. The comedy overcomes a slow, meandering start while establishing its plot. (Including losing a bit of steam by its third act). However, most of Stupnitsky’s jokes work, including earning its R-rating with a fearless, audacious, comedic turn by Lawrence.
The Academy-award-winning actress embraces a vulnerable, naked full-frontal comedy scene that’s skillfully self-assured. This easily delivers the movie’s biggest laughs. Even the transition scene of her returning to Percy provides uproarious laughter, a product of the movie’s “shampoo” effect.
Is No Hard Feelings (2023) worth watching?
No Hard Feelings is worth watching not just for the killer piano rendition of Hall & Oates’s “Maneater” but if you are a fan of R-rated comedies like Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and of course, Stupnitsky’s Good Boys.
While Lawrence has the film’s best jokes and storyline, the movie works only because of the equally effective comedic turn of A Tourist’s Guide to Love‘s Feldman.
The young actor finds the film’s heart and brings out the character’s inherent sweetness.
What did you think of the 2023 film No Hard Feelings? Comment below.