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Jennifer Lawrence's raunchy comedy has to work so hard to make jokes land that the movie never finds a pleasant, easy-going rhythm and the fun that should be had evaporates before your eyes.

Has ever before an Oscar-winning actress gone so ballsy as Jennifer Lawrence does in a scene where she steps naked out of to ocean and starts a no holds barred bare-knuckle beach fight with the people who stole her clothes? And more importantly: has it ever before been worth it so little?

No Hard Feelings clearly strives to emulate the peak of the raunchy comedy era, 20-odd years ago, with the story of a down on her luck 30-something (Lawrence) who is hired by a shy 19-year-old's parents to (nod-nod, wink-wink), 'date the young guy's brains out'.

Once you get past the rather creepy premise there is actually, on more than one occasion, justified promise that the filmmakers will find the right balance between blunt comedy and genuine heart. Yet on each of those occasions that hope is dashed nearly immediately by poor execution.

Jennifer Lawrence is mightily game and counterpart Andrew Barth Feldman has the required affectionate, naïve sweetness about him, but their efforts are scuppered by raunchy jokes that shock nor make you laugh. They just make you cringe for all the wrong reasons.

Further diluting the fun is the overarching feeling that at least another feature worth of scenes ended up on the editing room floor, judged by the inept, rushed way No Hard Feelings jumps from one scene to the next. With a rhythm and flow so wildly off the mark, no comedy could ever succeed.

release: 2023

director: Gene Stupnitsky

starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman, Matthew Broderick, Natalie Morales


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