Jennifer Lawrence returns to screens, after a baby break, in Causeway and No Hard Feelings, following Don’t Look Up and a fragrance commercial that is listed as an acting credit for God knows what reason. Anyhoo, JLaw hasn’t been succeeding much lately, she’s kinda fallen out of public favor and has made bad some work choices. All the X-Men stuff, Red Sparrow, Passengers, Joy, all the Hunger Games stuff, Serena; it’s been a rough ride and a subpar 10 years. Mother is the only quality film she’s done since Silver Linings Playbook, and that feels like eons ago. It’s time for the actress we used to love and respect to demand that back from us again, and while No Hard Feelings isn’t perfection, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Maddie lives in Montauk, New York, has all her life, hates the summer people who come to visit, but needs them to survive, as she drives them around and serves them drinks. Her life is pretty shitty, she has no family around, only one friend, and she’s running out of cash after making yet more terrible decisions. But a new prospect might just be her chance to get back on her feet. She sees online that a pair of protective parents are looking for a young lady to …date …their son. He’s about to go off to college, and he’s never done anything; drive, drink, smoke, sex, blah, blah, blah. Maddie’s job is to pretend to like him, help him to all these new experiences, and get him ready to leave the nest. Little could she guess that he’s teach her a thing or two instead, about herself, her choices, and what happens next.
It’s nice to see Lawrence back, because she really is a great actor, one of the brightest and more unique we’ve seen in twenty years. That she doesn’t always pick the right project is upsetting; she seems like maybe she’s overwhelmed by her success and what we as audiences demand from our top celebrities. I hope she’s happy now, settled in, and ready for serious work, because No Hard Feelings seems like just the right way to let off some steam, have some fun, and then get back to business. Because it is an entertaining little movie; in the spirit of Good Boys, a raunchy comedy, a bit of a rom/com, not reinventing the wheel here, it’s pretty standard, but with strong enough comedy to see it through. ABF is a great young star-in-the-making, he’s just hilarious, and I hope we see more from him. Both beach scenes, in the middle and at the climax, are so stupid, and I wish they had been deleted. But, other than that, this is a sex comedy worth watching, and something with a touch of real heart, if you want to find it.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆