2023 seems to be the year that dirty comedies return to the theater and No Hard Feelings should be a contender for the best comedy of the year, however anyone who has seen a couple trailers has covered most of those beats. So, the real reason to see the film flies in the face of everything presented in the previews and lies in the solid heart at the center of the incredibly raunchy, humorous story.
Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) is behind on bills and desperate to save the only place she has ever known as home when her poor behavior catches up to her and she loses her car/main source of income. Willing to do anything to save her house, she finds a Craigslist ad for a “free” car for anyone willing to date the extremely introverted son of wealthy helicopter parents.
For a story that sophomoric, this picture has no business delivering the level of acting contained within its frames. The main players of the small cast perfectly portray every intended emotion and beat of the movie without any faults. With heavy hitters like Lawrence and Matthew Broderick, it is impressive how they disappear into their characters without coming across as themselves in the roles. Both are always at their best as affable protagonists, so it was interesting to see them translate that to co-conspirators with good intentions. Though there are similarities between Lawrence’s Maddie and her Oscar-winning role in Silver Linings Playbook, it is entirely new.
It would be easy for a young actor to be overshadowed or overwhelmed with those performances happening beside them in their first feature film as a star, but Andrew Barth Feldman comes across as the sun which the universe of the narrative rotates around. His ability to take this awkward character and make him likeable and relatable despite extreme gawkiness is wildly impressive. His talent really shines with the character’s evolution throughout the picture. Fun aside: he is the only actor in the movie from Long Island where the film is based.
No Hard Feelings may struggle a bit with the magnitude of films filling theaters when it comes out June 23rd, but it should definitely be viewed by anyone who enjoys ridiculous comedy or coming of age stories. If you are a fan of both (or Hall & Oates), this movie is required viewing.