No Hard Feelings Review

Reviews Films


No Hard Feelings is Sony Pictures latest “raunchy” comedy from the mind of director/writer Gene Stupnitsky (Good Boys & Bad Teacher). With a trailer promising a plethora of foul language, sexual references and full-frontal nudity, here’s hoping Stupnitsky can go 3 for 3 and deliver another laugh-out-loud comedy.

Facing the imminent loss of her beloved childhood home in Montauk, Long Island, 32-year-old Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) stumbles upon a unique job advertisement. Wealthy parents (Laura Benanti & Matthew Broderick) are in search of a companion to “date” their socially awkward 19-year-old son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), as he prepares to leave for Princeton University. Much to her surprise, Maddie discovers that winning over the awkward teen is far from guaranteed.

I had seen the trailers prior to watching No Hard Feelings, and I thought it looked right up my alley. Awkward coming-of-age and low brow humour is my middle name. Films like Knocked Up (2007), 40-Year-Old-Virgin (2005), and Role Models (2008) are the type of films that helped to define my humour at an age that I definitely shouldn’t have been watching them. I also loved Stupnitsky’s earlier work – Good Boys (2019) and Bad Teacher (2011) – so I had high hopes going into this film.

No Hard Feelings ended up being a different film than the “edgy” comedy that was promised in the trailers. Though not inherently a bad movie, I do fear audiences may be disappointed in this rather sweet, sophisticated, romantic story, in which comedy plays secondary to a rather insightful look at growing up and the challenges that come with it.

The performances from both our two leads is the true highlight of the film. Lawrence and Feldman are an excellent comedic couple and their opposing personalities led to multiple moments throughout the film that had me in hysterics. Lawrence especially knocks it out of the park as Maddie and reaffirms why she’s an award winning actress. Fresh-faced Andrew Barth Feldman plays off Lawrence’s chaotic energy as the film’s (much needed) straight man to help balance out the humour. Along with great physical comedy and witty banter from our main duo, the film has some real heart-warming moments. As the film progresses it drops the “rated R” comedy act that the advertisement campaign led me to believe, and instead turns into a rather layered story of adulthood. I quite enjoyed the more mature themes that were introduced into the film, though it didn’t always gel with the slapstick and smutty humour.

My biggest gripe with No Hard Feelings was that I felt a little cheated. Most of the funniest moments are in the trailer, and that took away a lot of the enjoyment for me. The film also overstays its welcome in runtime, getting a little slow leading into the third act. I found myself predicting most of the more cliché story beats, and there wasn’t any major twist or reveal that had me re-invested. Due to this shortcoming, No Hard Feelings feels a little formulaic. The film never reaches its full potential, whether that be a comedy classic or a truly fresh and unique new look at the coming-of-age genre. I did enjoy large parts of the film, but it all felt a little disjointed on what it was aiming to achieve.

Elements of No Hard Feelings work incredibly well – namely Lawrence and Feldman’s onscreen chemistry – but it never quite decides what it wants to be, leading to a film that’s hard to recommend. If you’re after a sweet, but simple story with some genuinely funny moments scattered throughout, then this may just be the film for you. If you’re anticipating this generation’s answer to Superbad (2007), however; you’ll be left underwhelmed.

Rating 6/10