Jennifer Lawrence plays what feels like an embellished version of her public persona in a pleasant film that seems like it should have been released on Hulu.


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Film Summary

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Maddie is struggling. She owns her house outright, but she can barely afford to keep her house because of taxes, which have risen exponentially because of all the rich people moving into the area. Add in her car getting repossessed, and she has become desperate, and she doesn’t have anything but rollerblades to get to work. Enter Percy, who is bound for Princeton University in the fall, but because of him being such a recluse, his parents fear he isn’t ready to go to college, especially live on campus.

So, answering their Craigslist ad, Maddie is tasked with dating Percy to get a new car. She begins with just trying to get him to drink and have sex. But, as time goes on, Maddie realizes there is more to Percy than this overprotected Gen Z kid, and he might be able to help her deal with life as much as she can help him prep for it.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Maddie

32-year-old Maddie works at a bar, drives for a ride-sharing app, and the combination has kept her afloat for a while. It has allowed her to keep the house she inherited from her mom, which her dad gave to keep his secret family quiet. But, with her father disappearing and her mom now gone, she is on her own, and losing the house due to unpaid taxes is not an option. So, being someone who isn’t against saying or doing what’s hard, she takes a strange job which challenges her difficulty in forming bonds with people beyond a surface-level connection.

Percy

19-year-old Percy might be smart book-wise, but his social intelligence is the level of someone stupid. Mind you, his father wasn’t the most adept at interacting with people either at this age, but after someone older showed him the ropes, he blossomed. So he thinks the same could help his boy. However, with Percy being Gen-Z and overprotected, his naivety is at a level that makes someone like Maddie overstimulating, despite Percy’s browser history making it seem he would be interested in what she offers.

Review

Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

How It Observes And Questions Gen-Z Culture

Gen-Z are easy targets for older generations. Millennials wish to distance themselves from what was, for a time, named the “Tide Pod” generation, and the further back you go, so comes the arguments of them being too sensitive, lazy, etc. “No Hard Feelings” touches on this, but rather than do so in a judgmental way, it seems there is some desire to develop a understanding.

For example, what ruins Percy’s social life is his close relationship with his parents, but as shown by them hiring Maddie, they lack proper boundaries with their kid, so you can understand why he is a 19-year-old okay with being tracked and having his mom and dad do so much for him. Heck, one could even argue, with him not wanting a license and more, they triggered a level of arrested development that is shameful.

Yet, at the same time, one could submit that, as much as Percy is addicted to his phone and the internet, where he could find all kinds of reasons to rebel and question his relationship with his parents, this could just be who he is. He enjoys a close and intimate relationship with his parents, and their being reciprocal is perhaps a good thing?

It shows a shift in how parenting is done, where your kids aren’t meant to fear you or primarily see you as an authority figure with a more hands-on role in your rearing. Rather, they are your loved ones, caregivers, and people who, once you attain some level of independence, can be some semblance of a friend when you don’t need them to have their parent hat on.

Just Enough Heart

Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) and Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman)
“Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) and Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman),” No Hard Feelings, directed by Gene Stupnitsky, 2023, (Columbia Pictures)

Beyond the acknowledgement that maybe Percy is just a good kid who didn’t need to rebel but also was too coddled, there is also Maddie’s storyline. Yes, the original one introduced was her being a woman willing to do anything to save her mom’s house and stay in Montauk, but as it explores her lack of a relationship with her father, things go deeper.

Now, does the daddy issues leading to issues with romance thing feel a bit weak? Sometimes. However, there is no denying that there is something touching about how much fear of rejection has cast a shadow over Maddie’s life, and in her pursuit of trying to regain a sense of worthiness or power, she has made herself emotionally disconnected and constantly trying to have the upper hand.

But it makes her journey with Percy all the more moving for as foreign as he and his generation is, you can also see a lot of what he got and experienced is enviable. That is, beyond the clear economic advantages he has had growing up.

On The Fence

The Laughs Dry Up Quickly As the Film Peaks Early On

After seeing a naked Jennifer Lawrence do some wrestling moves on a bunch of teenagers, how can that not be the peak for any movie? But that aside, perhaps the issue with “No Hard Feelings” is that it doesn’t really go deep when it comes to the funny side of Maddie and Percy’s age difference. It does well in observing and questioning, but when it comes to the comedy? It heavily relies on physical comedy and jokes at Lawrence’s expense to get a laugh, whether it is Lawrence fighting naked, awkwardly trying to seduce Percy, who sometimes barely seems interested, or pushing the idea that she is old and all the negative connotations that come with that.

Don’t get me wrong, it can sometimes be funny, but it isn’t like “No Hard Feelings” has new and thoughtful jokes. It’s just slightly altered jokes you likely already heard, enhanced by Lawrence’s reaction.

Lack Of Investment In Supporting Characters

While Maddie has friends who, like her, are being priced out of their home, and then there is Percy’s parents who fill in the supporting cast, honestly, not much is done to drive much investment in them. There is little to no background when it comes to Maddie’s friends. One is pregnant, one often has an unpopular opinion, and outside of proving Maddie has some capability to form long-term relationships, they don’t provide much else.

Then, with Percy’s parents, while you get enough there to understand why he is the way he is, as individuals, as people beyond his parents? There is nothing there. What does his dad do? Is his parents’ relationship so bland that we should consider that a factor in why Percy hasn’t sought a relationship? A lot remains uncovered regarding who the supporting acts are when not in service to the leads. Hence, we didn’t even feel it was worth noting their names, even if notable actors like Matthew Broderick are part of the cast.

General Information

Director(s) Gene Stupnitsky
Screenplay By Gene Stupnitsky, John Phillips
Based On N/A
Date Released (In Theaters) June 23, 2023
Genre(s) Comedy
Film Length Hour  Minutes
Content Rating Rated R
Noted Characters and Cast
Maddie Jennifer Lawrence
Percy Andrew Barth Feldman

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FAQs

Why Is the Film Called “No Hard Feelings?”

Because, originally, all Maddie wanted was a new car, and whether Percy’s feelings got hurt didn’t matter. However, as the film goes on, we learn Maddie doesn’t like dealing with deep or difficult emotions like love.

Why Is “No Hard Feelings” Rated R

Cursing throughout and innuendo, alongside a handful of fist fights, full frontal nudity of Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman naked from behind, alongside drinking and smoking.

Is Hasan Minhaj In “No Hard Feelings” A Lot?

No, he has one or two scenes when he is trying to sell Maddie’s house.

What Happened to Maddie’s Dad?

He ghosted her due to her being the kid of his mistress.

Why Is Percy Awkward?

At school, it was revealed he still slept with his parents, sometimes, even when he was well into middle school, and it led to rumors he had sex with them.

Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence)
No Hard Feelings (2023) – Movie Review and Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
“No Hard Feelings” acts as a reintroduction of Jennifer Lawrence as a comedic actress, and while it may not blow you away, it has enough heart and chuckles embedded to be a pleasant experience.
Highlights
Just Enough Heart
How It Observes And Questions Gen-Z Culture
Disputable
Lack Of Investment In Supporting Characters
The Laughs Dry Up Quickly As the Film Peaks Early On
78

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