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No Hard Feelings movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert (2024)

Reviews

No Hard Feelings movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert (1)

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The R-rated studio comedy hardly makes any theatrical appearances these days, especially in the age of streaming. The only adult comedies usually come from Universal Pictures, which relish in genre-bending ("Cocaine Bear," "Renfield"), mixing up concepts for kids but with a mature twist (the upcoming "Strays"), orbanking on a comedian closely associated with Judd Apatow ("Bros"). But a solo comedic vehicle for an A-lister to show off their comedic chops (and not from Universal) sounds like a pipe dream. But Sony and Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence have made that pipe dream into a raunchy reality with the confident '80s-styled R-rated comedy "No Hard Feelings."

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Directed by Gene Stupnitsky ("Good Boys," co-creator of Freevee's"Jury Duty"), the filmcenters on Maddie Barker (Lawrence), a Montauk-based Uber driver in her early thirties andon the verge of bankruptcy. When her car gets repossessed by her scorned tow trucker ex Gary (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), the house that her late mother left her is about to foreclose, and the income from her mundane part-time bartending job at a seafood-themed bar is far from enough to suffice. Resorting to Craigslist, Maddie answers an odd job listing that offers a Buick Regal as compensation. The position: date a wealthy couple's (Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti) 19-year-old son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) for the summer, get him out of his shell, and pop his first cherry before heading to Princeton University in the fall; allwhile Percy is unsuspecting of his parents' involvement. Initially thinking the gig would be a piece of cake, Percy's clueless, awkward anxiety-riddled vibe gives Maddie a run for her money.

Since departing from Creative Artists Agency in 2018, Jennifer Lawrence's recent return to the big screen boasts liberation from theintensity she poured into her past few roles. Her days of prestigious Oscar bait and being a franchise star who wore exhaustion in her performances are over. Today, with each new project, her agency and freedom are prominent. In "No Hard Feelings," Lawrence proudly lets her freak flag fly.

Through the rambunctious, hasty cynical Maddie, Lawrence returns to her comedic roots from 2007's"The Bill Engvall Show" and aces each facet of her performance here. She has the same skillful comedic ability as Anna Faris, Charlize Theron, Emma Stone, and Regina Hall, who flip their sensuality on a dime and dive into silly behavior. Lawrence has expert comic timing, especially with Maddie's cynical clap backs and insults. Even for a skilled talent like Lawrence, she still impresses withher commitment to outrageous feats of physical comedy. Nothing she has done as Mystique in any of the "X-Men" films will measure up to Maddie going full pro-wrestler on a bunch of teenagers in her birthday suit.

"No Hard Feelings" boasts a breakthrough standout performance by Andrew Barth Feldman, who leaps from theBroadway stage to the silver screen as a delightful foil to Maddie. His Percy is like the anthesis of Gary from Paul Thomas Anderson's"Licorice Pizza"; Instead of pursuing a woman of his elder, he does everything in his power to maintain abstinence at a slow and steady pace. He's the perfect foil for Lawrence's Maddie, garnering numerous laughs with his timid demeanor contrasting her outward confident spirit.

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Lawrence's and Feldman's offbeat budding chemistry bolsters the film's humor more than the mediocre material. The best gags are all spoiled in the much better-edited trailer, which quickly cuts to the next joke, as opposed tothe final product, where shots often linger on an actor's reaction to whatever wackiness is occurring. Throughout this movie, I patiently waited for a singularlaugh-out-loud moment not from the promos.That moment never arrived.

Director Stupnitsky is no stranger to combining the sincere and absurd. His previous feature endeavor, "Good Boys," did just that and prospered thanks to its central young cast. His most recent project as a series co-creator, "Jury Duty," followed suit using the charming non-actor subject Ronald Gladden. "No Hard Feelings" persists in trying to have its raunchy cake full of sweet sentimental frosting, but the frustrating scriptforces its gags and drama. The film's comedic and dramatic facets attempt to garner a rise reaction from the audience without balancing the two.

Halfway through, "No Hard Feelings"reaches a gag high point and abruptly stops, sacrificing scenes of dating mishaps forjuxtaposed stories about two lonely people of different generations and classes influencing each other to grow up. As sharp as they may seem, these elements aretoo familiar to"Licorice Pizza" and Lawrence's previous lead project "Causeway," two films that more robustly depicted these budding arcs. Around this movie's second half, the outlandish comedy is lost inunearned character drama straight from an entirely separate script.

If it wasn't for Lawrence and Barth Feldman's joint comedic excellence, with their commandingcharm and chemistry fueling itslaughs, "No Hard Feelings" would have been a disaster. But thanks to them, it's a serviceable summer comedy that should keep the J. Law lovers happy, even though her talents are better used elsewhere.

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Film Credits

No Hard Feelings movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert (9)

No Hard Feelings (2023)

Rated Rfor sexual content, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.

103 minutes

Cast

Jennifer Lawrenceas Maddie Barker

Andrew Barth Feldmanas Percy Becker

Laura Benantias Allison Becker

Matthew Broderickas Laird Becker

Natalie Moralesas Sara

Scott MacArthuras Jim

Ebon Moss-Bachrachas Gary

Kyle Mooneyas Jody

Hasan Minhajas Doug Kahn

Jordan Mendozaas Crispin

Amalia Yooas Natalie

Director

  • Gene Stupnitsky

Writer

  • Gene Stupnitsky
  • John Phillips

Cinematographer

  • Eigil Bryld

Editor

  • Brent White

Composer

  • Mychael Danna
  • Jessica Rose Weiss

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No Hard Feelings movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert (2024)

FAQs

No Hard Feelings movie review (2023) | Roger Ebert? ›

The best gags are all spoiled in the much better-edited trailer, which quickly cuts to the next joke, as opposed to the final product, where shots often linger on an actor's reaction to whatever wackiness is occurring. Throughout this movie, I patiently waited for a singular laugh-out-loud moment not from the promos.

What was Ebert's last review? ›

The last review by Ebert published during his lifetime was for The Host, which was published on March 27, 2013. The last review Ebert wrote was for To the Wonder, which he gave 3.5 out of 4 stars in a review for the Chicago Sun-Times. It was posthumously published on April 6, 2013.

What movie did Roger Ebert write? ›

Why is Roger Ebert so famous? ›

Roger Ebert (born June 18, 1942, Urbana, Illinois, U.S.—died April 4, 2013, Chicago, Illinois) was an American film critic, perhaps the best known of his profession, who became the first person to receive a Pulitzer Prize for film criticism (1975).

What were Roger Ebert's final words? ›

Sometime ago, I heard that Roger Ebert's wife, Chaz, talked about Roger's last words. He died of cancer in 2013. “Life is but a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

How much money did Roger Ebert make? ›

Ebert's personal net worth was U.S. $9 million.

Were Siskel and Ebert friends? ›

After Siskel's death, Ebert reminisced about their close relationship saying: Gene Siskel and I were like tuning forks, Strike one, and the other would pick up the same frequency. When we were in a group together, we were always intensely aware of one another.

How many stars did Roger Ebert use? ›

By conservative estimate, Ebert reviewed at least 10,000 movies during a career that spanned from 1967 to 2013. Most of these films were graded on a scale of four stars to one-half star, but I Spit On Your Grave was awarded zero.

Which film is considered by most to be the greatest film ever made? ›

Citizen Kane (1941) stood at number 1 for five consecutive polls, with 22 votes in 1962, 32 votes in 1972, 45 votes in 1982, 43 votes in 1992, and 46 votes in 2002. It also topped the first two directors' polls, with 30 votes in 1992 and 42 votes in 2002.

How old was Ebert when he died? ›

On April 4, 2013, one of America's best-known and most influential movie critics, Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, dies at age 70 after battling cancer.

Was Roger Ebert an optimist? ›

Roger Ebert: 'I'm an optimistic person'

How long did Siskel and Ebert last? ›

The show was later distributed by Tribune Broadcasting and changed to At the Movies (1982–1986), and final iteration of the show was when it was produced by The Walt Disney Company with Siskel & Ebert & the Movies (1986–1999).

What was the last movie Gene Siskel reviewed? ›

The last five movies Siskel reviewed with Ebert on the show before his death aired during the weekend of January 23–24, 1999. On the show, they reviewed At First Sight, Another Day in Paradise, The Hi-Lo Country, Playing by Heart, and The Theory of Flight.

When did Ebert stop drinking? ›

In August 1979, Roger Ebert made the decision to stop drinking after having his last scotch and soda at his home in Chicago. Prior to this, Ebert struggled with controlling his alcohol consumption. He found it challenging to stop after one or two drinks and often continued drinking until he decided he had enough.

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