June 19, 2023

CINEMA | Sexy Dirtbag – Jennifer Lawrence Avoids 'No Hard Feelings'

"Doesn't anyone f*ck anymore?"
Jennifer Lawrence Gene Stupnitsky | No Hard Feelings
Sony Pictures / Excellent Cadaver
There is a single scene so audaciously raunchy and surprising it's worth the price of admission alone in its brave hilarity. It's hard to recall a female movie star of the calibre and talent of Jennifer Lawrence (also a producer) doing so much for the sake of being funny in another contemporary sex comedy. A throwback to juvenile '90s young adult comedies and co-written/directed by Gene Stupnitsky, No Hard Feelings also packs the expected amount of heart while referencing contemporary themes of inclusion, gentrification, inequality, and gender politics.

Co-starring newcomer Andrew Barth Feldman, a singer and stage actor who delayed his enrolment at Harvard in real-life (Princeton in the film) to make this movie, his Percy and Lawrence's Maddie have an endearingly sweet oddball chemistry as a sheltered nineteen-year-old virgin about to go to college with few adult experiences and a desperate Montauk bartender trying to make ends meet, keep her dead mother's house, and avoid any emotional attachments. Her sort of sexy dirtbag aura of a hot mess is irresistibly entertaining to watch.

Aside from the icky premise of rich helicopter parents (Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti, both hilarious) trying to hire a sex worker (and settling for Maddie) off Craigslist to date and take their son's virginity in exchange for a used Buick Regal, the film acknowledges its own inherent flaws to mine even more humour. In many respects, Lawrence plays the role likely to have been occupied by a rising male star in any other era, which would have made for a much worse and gross film. Instead of being problematic years down the road after release, this comedy bakes in those qualities to address them in the moment.

Lawrence and Feldman both go for it and make No Hard Feelings into such a heartfelt yet funny experience despite the inherent problematic nature of their relationship and how it unfolds. Stupnitsky's sharp comic direction mirrors elements of comedies like Easy A or Never Been Kissed with a much more adult-oriented female point-of-view. Their film is a laugh riot because of its uneasy relationship with its lead character walking the line of being an opportunistic predator and not in spite of it.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Slashfilm

0 reactions:

Post a Comment