A cash-strapped woman takes a job to seduce an awkward teenager in No Hard Feelings. Maddie Barker (Jennifer Lawrence) is a 32-year-old Uber driver and bartender in Montauk, New York, who is on the verge of losing her mother's house, due to rising property taxes. After her car is towed away by ex-boyfriend Gary (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Maddie is desperate to get a new car, to earn enough Uber income to pay the taxes.
Maddie answers a Craigslist ad by wealthy helicopter parents Laird (Matthew Broderick) and Allison (Laura Benanti) Becker, who want Maddie to “date” their 19-year-old son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) before he leaves for Princeton in the fall. Percy is an extremely introverted teenager and Maddie's early attempts to seduce him fall flat. However, as the two begin to know each other, Percy slowly starts to come out of his shell.
No Hard Feelings Synopsis
No Hard Feelings is a sex comedy film co-written and directed by Gene Stupnitsky (Good Boys). The film stars Jennifer Lawrence as a desperate woman, who is hired by equally desperate parents to take the virginity of their son Percy. However, Maddie's seduction of Percy ends up being more difficult than anticipated, as their first encounter ends with Maddie getting maced in the face.
Throughout the summer, Maddie and Percy begin to get to know each other. It eventually reaches the point where Percy starts developing real feelings for Maddie and is soon ready to make the next step. However, Maddie becomes increasingly concerned about how attached Percy is becoming, resulting in her having second thoughts about the whole situation.
My Thoughts on No Hard Feelings
On the surface, No Hard Feelings is positioned as a raunchy comedy that sees Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) drop a multitude of F-bombs and get into several sex-related situations, probably the most eye-opening being a skinny dipping sequence set to Hall and Oates' “Maneater.” However, despite the raunchy content, No Hard Feelings ends up being much more akin to a traditional romantic comedy. After the initial attempts of straight-on seduction, Maddie and Percy, played by relative newcomer Andrew Barth Feldman, begin dating for real with the latter's growing attachment to Maddie becoming a real concern.
No Hard Feelings also serves somewhat as a social commentary about the dual nature of the beach community of Montauk, New York. Maddie and her friends Sara (Natalie Morales) and Jim (Scott MacArthur) are lifelong residents of the town, who every summer have to deal with the wealthy elite invading the community. It is the one-percenters' vacation homes that have resulted in the rising property taxes that are threatening the loss of Maddie's family home.
In some ways, I wish No Hard Feelings focused more on this divide. A wasted opportunity in the film comes from the introduction of Percy's (male) nanny Jody (Kyle Mooney), who is positioned to be somewhat of an antagonistic figure with connections to the rich jerks of the community. However, when Jody does show up again, it is only to be the butt of a joke.
Those going into No Hard Feelings expecting the film to be an American Pie level of sex comedy raunchiness are probably going be left a little disappointed when the raunchy content subsides after the first act and the film falls into some of the stereotypical romantic comedy tropes. However, the romance of the film is still kind of sweet, despite the 13-year age difference between the principal characters. Ultimately, No Hard Feelings is an OK way to waste an afternoon.