"No Hard Feelings" Film Review

No Hard Feelings (2023) - IMDb

"No Hard Feelings" Film Review

Rating: 4.5/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    Gene Supnitsky's "No Hard Feelings" does nearly everything right. It is able to hit all of the right comedic beats, and it genuinely feels like the rom-coms from the late '90s to early 2000's. With a hilarious story and great, lovable performances by Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman, it is nearly impossible to not fall in love with this film.

    Lawrence plays Maddie, who works as a bartender and an Uber driver to help pay for the property taxes on the house her mother had left her. However, when she is unable to make her car payments, her car is towed away, forcing her to try and pay off the taxes by her bartending career. When she realizes that just having that job isn't feasible, her and her friends, Sara (Natalie Morales) and Jim (Scott MacArthur) must find a way for her to keep her childhood house. 

    That is when she sees the Craigslist ad that is perfect for her - two parents (Laura Benanti, Matthew Broderick) are offering their old Buick Regal in exchange for the recipient "dates" their 19-year-old son. Named Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), he is incredibly shy and awkward, not really sure how to talk to people his own age in fear they're going to make fun of him. His parents want Maddie to get to know him before they become intimate, as he is truly a nice kid. What starts out as Maddie dreading her interactions with him and Percy thinking she is a creepy kidnapper turns into a beautiful friendship that neither of them had expected. 

    The standout thing here is the comedy. It feels like a lot of movies like this try way too hard to be funny that it simply doesn't work. Whether it's the over-abundance of sex jokes or gag humor, it starts to feel very routine when going to see a comedy picture like this. That is thankfully not the case here as every joke seems to land and garner laughter from the audience. When seeing this movie, I haven't heard the audience laugh this hard in a movie in a long time. From the interactions between Maddie and Percy to the awkward situations they get themselves into, nearly everything is hilarious and made even better by the great performances from the two stars. 

    Lawrence has never really starred in a comedy like this before, and I honestly wonder why. While she is great at playing badass heroines or dramatic characters, she is simply just great at being naturally funny. Whether she is dealing with Percy's shenanigans in the movie or going through some of her own hardships in life, she just plays such a lovable character that is tons of fun to watch. The same can be said for Barth Feldman, who is perhaps even more hilarious here. He is able to really tap into the role of being this incredibly awkward teenager who is scared of his own shadow. Because of this, it is so hard not to love his character and he is perhaps one of the best and lovable characters in comedy in the past few years. 

    Even though both are great at their performances, I think it works incredibly well because of their on-screen chemistry. They are wonderful and so natural together throughout the movie, and it genuinely feels like we are taking an inside look at a relationship like this. They are just able to banter and converse with each other so well, and it's so much fun and enjoyable to watch. It is reminiscent of characters like Margaret and Andrew, played by Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, respectively, from "The Proposal" in the sense of that you love watching them so much that you want to see more and more. 

    Of course, it does slow down quite a bit when we get into the part before the conclusion, pretty much like every comedy does. While it does have fantastic character growth and progression on their own, it also is sort of slow and drags a little before we get to the satisfying conclusion. I don't think this ruins the film or is a major demerit, but it does sort of drag a bit before being able to conclude the movie for the audience. 

    This isn't a cinematic masterpiece or has a romance that will totally change the course of romance movies forever, but it is simply a fantastic rom-com that has a beautiful story and lovable characters. I had such a fun time watching this movie, and I loved everything the filmmakers and actors did here. I honestly want to see it again as soon as possible, and I can't wait to immerse myself in this story for two hours. This is how rom-coms should be made, and this movie just gives me hope we'll get more films like this in the future.