Jennifer Lawrence finally goes fully comedic in ‘No Hard Feelings’

Mimi Calzada, Life&Arts Associate Editor

“No Hard Feelings,” the raunchy comedy directed by Gene Stupnitsky, follows Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) as she accepts an unconventional job to make enough money to save her childhood home. Maddie must date and seduce 19-year-old Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) to break him out of his shell before he goes to college. 

With plenty of R-rated comedies slated to hit theaters this summer (check out The Daily Texan’s SXSW coverage of Joy Ride and Bottoms, which will both be in theaters in July and August, respectively), “No Hard Feelings” successfully carves out a place for itself on that list. Dirty and funny, this film will have audiences laughing out loud and cringing from awkwardness.

The two leads display a hilarious dynamic, with Lawrence as the pseudo-lustful Montauk, New York local, and Feldman as the timid object of her artificial affection. The latter nails the nervous energy at the core of his character and portrays elevated physical comedy at several points, like in one scene where Percy jumps exaggeratedly upon hearing pool balls hitting one another in a dive bar. After a career of dramas, Lawrence similarly shines in a purely comedic role with line deliveries that don’t feel gimmicky. 

The script is sometimes hit-or-miss, with some beats feeling predictable; the setup is particularly contrived. At the film’s start, Maddie works as an Uber driver and bartender. When her car is towed from her driveway, Maddie’s friends miraculously find an internet ad that seeks to hire a female companion in exchange for an old Buick. Moments like these make it difficult for audiences to suspend their belief but are ultimately forgivable. 

Additionally, an unexplored subplot lingers throughout the film, begging for the attention it never receives. As outsiders move into Montauk, the cost of living rises, which nearly causes Maddie to lose her childhood home. “No Hard Feelings” examines this injustice through lines sprinkled in the script, but not to the extent that it feels resolved or even crucial to the plot. The film would have benefited from greater exploration of this theme.  

“No Hard Feelings” delivers a standard yet highly enjoyable slapstick comedy about friendship and self-discovery. The film is a perfectly delightful popcorn movie and will be especially pleasant in movie theaters with large crowds. 

3 rollerblades out of 5