Published on June 21st, 2023 | by gareth0
No Hard Feelings Is A Pleasant Surprise And Comedy With Heart And Well-Defined Characters Amidst The Adult Humor
In the scenic community of Montauk Maddie Barker (Jennifer Lawrence), is struggling to get by. As a rideshare driver and bartender, she suffers a crippling financial blow when her car is repossessed over failure to pay property taxes. Desperate to save the home her mother left her and without many financial options, Maddie answers an ad by the wealthy Becker family.
It is learned that their son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), is set to go off to Princeton and his overprotective parents are extremely concerned about his withdrawn nature and lack of worldly experiences.
Maddie is hired to give Percy some confidence which includes despite their veiled euphemisms and circular requests; introductions into the ways of sex. Maddie has no problem with casual relationships she has floated from one fling to another and has developed a reputation as someone who runs when things start to get serious and emotions get involved.
Despite the fact that she is 32 and Percy is 19, Maddie attempts to seduce Percy as she sees the promised payment of a car as being what he desperately needs to take advantage of the lucrative summer tourist season to get her financial needs in order.
Maddie sterically tries to use a series of seductions and blatant overtures to entice Percy but learns that he wants to make sure that he has a connection and knows somebody before he becomes physical with them.
This naturally leads to some very hysterical scenarios from Skinny dipping, seductive dances, and more gone wrong, and Maddie switches gears and tries a more casual approach which has more natural dating aspects to it.
Along the way the two start to become closer to one another but Maddie knows that this is just a job that she must keep secret from Percy and things become more complicated when feelings become involved.
When I first saw the trailer I found it very funny but was surprised that an Oscar-winning actress like Lawrence would want to star in what is essentially at first glance a raunchy sex comedy and one with potentially cringe-worthy subject matter.
Aside from being funny, what really sets the film apart from others in the genre is the amount of heart and characterization that is given to the characters. They are not one-dimensional hormone-crazed teens but rather real people with real-world problems. Despite having all the advantages of wealth, Percy finds himself alone and struggles to make friends and have confidence in his numerous abilities and virtue.
There’s a lot to be said about helicopter parents and overly sheltered upbringing just as in the case of Maddie there is the long-term disadvantages caused by unresolved family emotions which have hampered her ability to grow and to have normal and appropriate relationships.
The film is enjoyable from start to finish and I really enjoyed the performances of the cast as well as the great supporting work of Matthew Broderick as Percy’s father.
While some people may have issues with the subject matter and raunchier aspects of some of the humor, there is a very interesting story about dysfunctional people trying to find their way in a complicated changing world and how sometimes they just need a little bit to help to reach their potential.
This definitely was one of my bigger surprises for the year and hopefully, it will set a standard for similar films in the future to realize that good characters that are well-developed definitely have a place amongst the sidesplitting adult humor.
4 stars out of 5