Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) and Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) in Columbia Pictures’ “No Hard Feelings” (Photo Credit: Macall Polay/2023 CTMG, Inc.).
(“No Hard Feelings” trailer courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Those teenage years can be extremely awkward.
Teenagers are trying to understand themselves and find their place in life.
To make it more difficult, fitting in with the cool kids can be darn near impossible for those considered social misfits.
With the advent of technology and social media, many teenagers fail to develop social skills before they leave the nest for college or the workforce.
And for males, having no social skills means having no women.
“No Hard Feelings” depicts teen angst in a cool, fun, enjoyable and lighthearted way.
In “No Hard Feelings,” Percy Becker (Andrew Barth Feldman) is a good kid.
He has gained admission into Princeton University.
Percy never gives his parents Laird Becker (Matthew Broderick) and Allison Becker (Laura Benanti) any problems.
But he has not developed the skills necessary, according to his parents, to succeed as an adult in the real world.
Percy has no friends.
He cannot drive.
And he has never had a girlfriend.
Although his parents have a very awkward child who has not had many real-world experiences, the family does have real money.
And money can buy many things in this world, including real world experiences for a really shy kid.
In “No Hard Feelings,” Percy is so naïve that he even thinks the classic 1980s song “Maneater” by Hall & Oates is about an actual monster.
Percy is so sure that “Maneater” is about a monster that the song literally terrifies him.
On the other hand, the slightly older Maddie Barker (Jennifer Lawrence) grew up on the other side of the tracks.
Maddie did not come from rich parents.
However, her mother did leave her a house in a New York vacation town that is getting more difficult for the locals to control because rich families have come in, which has raised property taxes.
In “No Hard Feelings,” Maddie cannot even keep her car.
Not having a car for an Uber driver and bartender is like a death sentence for someone who cannot keep their head above water.
Therefore, keeping a house seems like an insurmountable battle for Maddie.
In “No Hard Feelings,” the tax man is coming soon for Maddie’s late mother’s house.
Unfortunately, the IRS cares not about a person’s feelings.
Therefore, Maddie finds herself between a rock and a hard place.
So, when Maddie sees an advertisement for a woman in her early twenties to date a 19-year-old youngster named Percy, she responds because payment for dating Laird and Allison’s son is a Buick.
The only problem is that Maddie is in her late twenties, plus a few extra years tacked on.
So, to “rob” Percy of his virginity and “rob” the Becker’s out of a Buick, she must rob the cradle.
While the Beckers want Maddie to teach their son the ways of the world, in “No Hard Feelings” Maddie soon learns that the unworldly Percy can teach her a thing a two about being a decent human being.
The funniest thing about “No Hard Feelings” is something many old heads can relate to.
To many old heads, they are still young.
They look in a mirror and see someone that still looks good.
The old head might even listen to the same music that young people listen to.
Youngsters might even find some old heads attractive.
Unfortunately, when youngsters see that old head, they still see an old head and not a peer.
Therefore, when Maddie goes to a teenage party with Percy, the other partygoers laugh at her and begin asking each other, whose mother she is.
When Maddie tells a young male, who loves MILFS, that she is 23-years-old, even though she is 32-years-old, he responds by calling her old.
Even the nerdy Percy cracks on Maddie’s age.
In “No Hard Feelings,” Percy tells Maddie that in four years, they will both be seniors.
However, Percy will be a senior at Princeton University, while in his eyes Maddie will be a senior citizen.
Even when Percy and Maddie are having a big and sexy date, it does not stop a girl Percy’s own age to approach him and invite him to the aforementioned teen party.
Although the jealousy is written all over Maddie’s face, it does not stop the girl from shooting her shot at Percy.
She even calls Maddie ma’am when she returns to her table at the restaurant.
While “No Hard Feelings” is definitely not a brilliant film, it does not have to be.
It breaks no barriers.
It overcomes no boundaries.
It is predictable.
And it is not the funniest film.
But “No Hard Feelings” is still a cute little film.
Lawrence is one of those actors who can equally divide their time between critically-acclaimed films like “Silver Linings Playbook” and films not to be taken too seriously like “No Hard Feelings.”
Even when she does put on her serious thespian hat, she still stays in her lane, knowing what type of films she will succeed in.
Lawrence also wins because she is so relatable.
She is cute.
But not intimidatingly cute.
She is a star.
But she comes across as a real person and not a celebrity.
That quality comes across on screen and endears her to moviegoers throughout the world.
Furthermore, Feldman holds his own opposite the Academy Award winner.
While many people can relate to being the old head who thinks they are still young, just as many probably can relate to those weird teenage years.
Awkward teenagers are trying to find their way in life, and their domineering parents are desperately trying to speed up the maturation process.