No Hard Feelings (2023)
December 29, 2023 11:39 AM - Subscribe

On the brink of losing her childhood home, Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers an intriguing job listing: wealthy helicopter parents (Matthew Broderick, Laura Benanti) looking for someone to "date" their introverted 19-year-old son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), before he leaves for college. To her surprise, Maddie soon discovers the awkward Percy is no sure thing. (On Netflix)
posted by ShooBoo (8 comments total)
This is such an odd little film. For me, it has the feeling of a student film that somehow got these big-name stars attached to, and ended up being better than it might have otherwise been. I kept asking myself how stars of Lawrence’s and Broderick’s stature found themselves in this film, but then I saw that Lawrence was a producer.

There’s some definite (intentionally?) cringe-ish moments here (beyond simply a 30-something attempting to hook-up with a teen, for cash) The scene where Lawrence crashes the high-school party comes to mind. Lawrence is only 33, but the way the age gap between her and the younger generation is played makes it so wide as to be very uncomfortable and somewhat sad-bordering-on-pathetic. At least that’s how it played-out for me.

It’s a thin, fluffy film, but a nice diversion. Definitely funny. It doesn’t ask much of the viewer beyond simply accepting the premise. I guess there was some serious competition between studios for this film. Lawrence got a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, and the film itself got a Critic’s Choice best comedy nom.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:21 AM on December 30, 2023

Lots of flaws but Laurence's comedic and dark comedic notes impressively landed, plus some real emotion and introspection, on and off, and I think overall it succeeds.
posted by zeek321 at 12:28 PM on December 30, 2023 [2 favorites]

My wife and I had a hard time watching this, despite JL's comedic chops. The thought occurred to us both that the film couldn't have been made if it was about a 35-year-old man hired by a 17-year-old girl's parents.
posted by emelenjr at 9:52 PM on December 30, 2023

That point was definitely rolling-around in my head as I watched, too, emelenjr.

I certainly have to hand it to Lawrence, who never seems to phone-in or half-ass a single performance. This film is no different. She completely inhabits the roll and fully commits to it, from the comedy to the utterly unselfconscious nudity. Just a seemingly effortless performer.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:14 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]

Butt nekkid WWE beach brawl was not on my bingo card. That was Globe-worthy comic acting alone.

Overall, C-. Ill-conceived, a squicky premise. All credit goes to the performers.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:45 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]

Big fan of Andrew Barth Feldman and happy to see him get a role like this, which I think he killed. Agree that there was some squick on the premise.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:42 AM on January 4

for me the films biggest flaws are related to the bond that starts to form between the two characters.. the build up (dialogue, pacing) didn't seem to know if the movie was going for gravitas vs. sex comedy at times and the missed notes were distracting

there were some sweet notes though: some comic beats that were pretty great, the one that stands out is when ML is bemoaning the encroachment of the rich assholes crowding out the Montauk locals, and it was a real moment to watch Zahn McClarnon (playing her Indigenous lawyer) just stare at her. stuff like that, plus the infamous fight scene on the beach, made this worth the time.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:26 AM on January 5

> The thought occurred to us both that the film couldn't have been made if it was about a 35-year-old man hired by a 17-year-old girl's parents.

Yes, that made the movie a more challenging watch, on top of the given genders already being a challenging watch.
posted by zeek321 at 6:16 AM on January 9

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