no hard feelings

No Hard Feelings review | Jennifer Lawrence sex comedy is empty fun

★★★☆☆
Jennifer Lawrence might have an Oscar, but she’s not above a raunchy sex comedy. Read our full review of No Hard Feelings. 

★★★☆☆

Jennifer Lawrence might have an Oscar, but she’s not above a raunchy sex comedy. Read our No Hard Feelings review. 


“Unwise but not illegal” was the phrase used by Phillip Schofield to describe his career-breaking tryst with a much younger employee. That phrase also works in describing the central relationship in No Hard Feelings, Gene Stupnitsky’s new, naughty comedy, starring Jennifer Lawrence. 

Maddie (Lawrence) only has a few months to raise enough money to save her late mother’s house. As an Uber driver, she hits a pothole when her car is towed and resorts to some unconventional ways of earning cash. She responds to a shady Craigslist ad by a couple in desperate need of help. 

The job? “Dating” their withdrawn, nerdy son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) before he goes off to college and the real world. Maddie, considerably older than Percy, accepts the challenge, but Percy turns out to be, as Maddie puts it, “unfuckable.” 

no hard feelings jennifer lawrence

Credit: Sony Pictures

The premise alone is enough to raise a few eyebrows. If the roles were reversed, No Hard Feelings probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Maddie, a 32-year-old woman, is constantly seen seducing and, at times, pressuring a 19-year-old to have sex with her. Stupnitsky, who also co-wrote the script with John Phillips, never quite condemns Maddie’s actions, but at least there’s enough characterisation to make her morally ambiguous acts reasonable and understandable. 

No Hard Feelings is carried by Lawrence. Her roles in The Hunger Games franchise and X-Men: First Class made her into a huge star, but films like Winter’s Bone and Silver Linings Playbook, which she won an Oscar for, proved she had talent to spare. Her bubbly, unfiltered public persona was often in stark contrast to the characters she played, but No Hard Feelings finally lets Lawrence be funny on screen.

Lawrence and Feldman create a believable, slightly uneasy dynamic, which blossoms into a real friendship. Both performers demonstrate a willingness to check their ego at the door and a healthy ability to laugh at themselves. For Lawrence, No Hard Feelings feels like a personal breakthrough. After taking a bit of a break from acting, she made a comeback of sorts in last year’s superb Causeway, but a film like No Hard Feelings requires her to be both unlikable and charismatic, a tricky combo even for a seasoned actor, but she makes it look easy. 

Thankfully, Lawrence is fabulous and very funny. It’s a shame the film around her never rises to the occasion. Despite one scene where Lawrence appears fully nude, the rest of No Hard Feelings is quite tame. Gene Stupnitsky’s film is like that one kid in class who would brag about drinking or having sex, when in fact they just had a sip of their dad’s beer and watched Basic Instinct on TV. 

Most of the jokes in No Hard Feelings are exactly what you’d expect. The best moments are ruined in the film’s trailer and the ones that were left to be discovered on the big screen tend to be about premature ejaculation or light pedophilia. Gene Stupnitsky tries to craft a film that explores gentrification, but thinly written characters and a bloated, overly familiar plot prevent No Hard Feelings from ever saying anything interesting or new about its themes. 

Despite being consistently amusing, No Hard Feelings feels shallow in its own boldness. It’s all bark, no bite, but at least Lawrence gives a razor sharp, witty performance. 


No Hard Feelings is in cinemas now.


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