'No Hard Feelings' - Raunch Dressing | Review

"No Hard Feelings" via IMDb.

In 21st century movies such as “Bridesmaids,” “Girls Trip,” “Rough Night,” and the forthcoming “Joy Ride,” women prove that they can be every bit as raunchy, if not raunchier, than their male counterparts.

“No Hard Feelings” (Sony/Columbia), starring Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, is another new addition to that list.

Uber driver and bartender Maddie (Lawrence) has hit rock bottom in Montauk. A townie who resents the increasingly moneyed population taking over the area, she owes back taxes on the house her single mother left her and has no means of repaying them especially after her car was repossessed by her tow-truck driving ex Gary (Ebon Moss-Bachrach).

While looking for a new car on her phone with pregnant bestie Sarah (queer actor Natalie Morales), she comes across a business opportunity that includes a pristine vintage Buick as part of the deal. Helicopter parents Laird (Matthew Broderick) and Allison (Laura Benanti) are concerned that their socially awkward son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) is unprepared (read: still a virgin) for his freshman year at Princeton. In exchange for the Buick, they are seeking a young woman in her early to mid-20s to “date” Percy and bring him out of his shell.

Well past the age bracket, but desperate for a car, Maddie applies for the gig. Still relatively youthful appearing for someone in her early 30s, she survives the secret interview process and gets to work, paying a visit to the unsuspecting Percy at the animal shelter where he volunteers. Turning on her seductive charms, Maddie persuades Percy to leave work early and hang out with her. They end up at the beach after sundown where, after further manipulation, Maddie convinces Percy to skinny dip with her. When a trio attempts to steal their clothes, Maddie confronts them resulting in a disturbing scene in which she fights the three of them while completely naked. This is clearly a career low for Lawrence.

Maddie remains determined to deflower Percy and get the Buick. She must overcome multiple obstacles in her pursuit, including Percy’s performance anxiety, his hives outbreak, and a confrontation with Percy’s male nanny Jody (Kyle Mooney). Meanwhile, Doug (Hasan Minhaj) is after Maddie to sell her house.

For a comedy, “No Hard Feelings” is lacking in laughs. In fact, the movie’s best scene involves a dressed-up dinner date in an upscale restaurant in which Percy, who has piano-playing chops, is pressured by Maddie to sit at the brasserie’s grand piano and play a song for her. His ballad rendition of Hall and Oates’ “Maneater” (a song referred to in an earlier scene) is the movie’s lone high point.

Further low points include a Princeton party for incoming students (where Maddie makes an instantly regrettable homophobic comment), Percy’s discovery of his parents’ scheme, his revenge plot, and an insane bit in which Maddie, hanging on to the hood of Percy’s car, catches on fire before Percy drives into the ocean. Just say no to “No Hard Feelings.”

Rating: D+

Gregg Shapiro is the author of nine books including the poetry chapbook Refrain in Light (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2022). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.


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