Comedy is a hard genre to appease audiences these days. We are left with many unfunny films that yearn for the edginess and belly laugh moments of the past. No Hard Feelings is a surprisingly funny film that makes us reminisce about the classic comedies before it. Jennifer Lawrence returns to the genre as Maddie, a girl in-between jobs on the brink of losing her home. But she finds a listing online from two overprotective parents. They want Maddie to date their son to build up his confidence before he leaves for college. Maddie must connect with this young man to get a new car and save her home. Can she do it?
“No Hard Feelings” surprised me in a good way. I thought the trailers looked generic and plain. But I’m pleased to report that the film is quite good. It’s great seeing Jennifer Lawrence taking on a role like this again. Her comedic timing and commitment to this performance is excellent. She relays the tricky situation Maddie is in with heart and humor. But Percy, the awkward boy she must date, is also performed well by Andrew Barth Feldman. The two have great chemistry that conveys what each person needs from their unusual arrangement. Throughout the film, both realize that this arrangement becomes genuine and complimentary to their situations in life. This was a tough task due to the inappropriate nature of their relationship, but both performances make it work.
I was afraid that the film would be too edgy to enjoy. With the predatory nature of Maddie’s situation, the story could have gone off the rails quickly. But the material is handled with care and evolves into something that makes sense. It’s edgy enough to remind us of the great comedies before that were willing to take risks. That’s what I enjoy about that brand of comedy, which is the ability to make us uncomfortable. Although “No Hard Feelings” isn’t as edgy as something like “The Hangover”, it still provides a number of laughs while telling a nice story. That alone makes it worth seeing.
Having a comedy with an old school sense of humor is great to see. But “No Hard Feelings” misses a few pieces that hold it back from being as good as the comedies that inspired it. The age in which we live prohibits the film from really extending the humor into edgy territory. But the film goes as far as it can, which I commend. There were also segments of the plot that feel dull and less integral to the story. I think this is a product of trying to fill space to make it a complete story instead of an episode of a TV series. So some of the filler works better than others. There were few moments that triggered laugh out loud moments, but most of the humor was just chuckle worthy. It was funny seeing the uncomfortable interactions between the characters, but there are films in the genre that have done it better. Even so, the film was genuinely humorous at times.
Jennifer Lawrence returns to the comedy genre with a bang! I really enjoyed seeing her chemistry on screen with Andrew Barth Feldman. The two really sell the ridiculous premise, making us care for each of their characters as more is revealed about them throughout the film. Check it out on streaming for a good laugh as it is one of the funnier movies to come out recently. Although it doesn’t compare to some of the edgier comedies from the past, this is a nice return to form that does enough to justify its existence.