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No Hard Feelings

average rating is 3 out of 5


Brian Penn


Posted on:

Jul 19, 2023

Film Reviews
No Hard Feelings
Directed by:
Gene Stupnitsky
Written by:
Gene Stupnitsky, John Phillips
Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman, Matthew Broderick

A film like ‘No Hard Feelings’ is easy to miss when Joe Public have such a wide choice on the big screen. You would barely glance up from your mobile when the trailer appears. There are elements of screwball comedy; a vague reference to the coming of age drama. A mature woman and a young boy on the cusp of manhood all sounds very familiar. It’s the story where they both learn something about life with a tinge of rom-com thrown in. But this is much better than it sounds and a refreshingly pleasant surprise.


Maddie Barker (Jennifer Lawrence) is a bed hopping singleton with a string of one night stands behind her. She owes property tax on her home and is struggling to pay what’s owed. Maddie makes a living as an Uber driver but has her car repossessed. Desparate measures are required so Maddie replies to an advert placed by the Beckers (Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti). The micro-management of their son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) knows no bounds and have a special assignment for her: should she choose to accept. The Beckers are seeking a summer companion for Percy before he heads off to college.


It soon becomes obvious that Maddie has to ‘date’ Percy in every sense of the word. However she gets the use of the family Buick for her services. It all seems like a no-brainer for Maddie; she gets to drive a great car and solve her money worries all in one go. And how could he possibly resist her undoubted charms? Crucially, she hasn’t bargained for Percy’s sheltered upbringing and the fact he barely leaves his bedroom.


Within ten minutes of the film starting you can write the ending with relative ease. But the innate predictability is half the fun with engaging characters delivering some funny lines. Maddie comes across as a calculating woman of the world who hides a heart of gold. Percy is the goofy kid who fails to recognise a gift horse but is more perceptive than everyone realises. There are good visual gags and Percy nails a brilliant version of ‘Maneater’ on the piano.


Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman are charming leads who work the age gap scenario with aplomb. There is surprising depth in a plot that initially seems flimsy but is ultimately revealing. Life experience comes in many guises and proves that age doesn’t always make us wiser.

About the Film Critic
Brian Penn
Brian Penn
Theatrical Release
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