Jennifer Lawrence is set to bring the side-splitting chuckles in Sony’s brand-new R-rated comedy movie, No Hard Feelings. Directed and co-written by Gene Stupnitsky of Good Boys fame, this story follows Maddie Barker (Lawrence) who responds to a Craiglist ad and agrees to date a rich couple’s awkward 19-year-old son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), in exchange for a Buick Regal. Raunchy hilarity unfolds as Maddie takes Percy under her wing and teaches him about adult life — even the things he probably doesn’t want to know.
One look at the trailers (not even the red band ones) and it’s evident this isn’t a comedy film for the whole family. It’s very much directed at mature audiences, and that’s okay, because not everything needs to be PG-13. In the 2000s, coming-of-age R-rated comedies were at an all-time high demand, as films such as Superbad and American Pie dominated the theatrical landscape and brought in healthy returns for studios. However, the world of entertainment drastically changed with the rise of streaming platforms as well as the type of blockbusters that dominated cinema. This subgenre of comedy never disappeared entirely, but it wasn’t as prevalent as before.
For Stupnitsky, No Hard Feelings wasn’t intentionally created as a tribute to a bygone era, but the director understands how it has been interpreted as such. “Comedies in general haven’t really been made that much, especially in the theatrical space,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “At the time it didn’t necessarily feel like we were making a throwback, but I think once people saw the trailer, that was the reaction. I was like, ‘Oh, that makes sense.'”
Attracting an Oscar winner such as Lawrence to the project as both an actor and producer is quite the coup. Considering the type of roles Lawrence has become known for recently, this is a jump in a different direction. However, it could also open the door for other mainstream performers to jump into the genre that’s begging for a big-time comeback.
It’s also no secret that the movie industry is trying to recover after the pandemic’s setbacks. As a result, every studio is tightening its belt and trying to create the best kind of content without having to spend hundreds of millions of dollars. The R-rated comedy was never the most expensive genre to produce, as it doesn’t rely too heavily on special effects, CGI, or big set pieces. In many ways, it is the answer to the current predicament as it holds the appeal of being both entertaining and budget-friendly.
With all the superhero movies and blockbuster fare hitting the screens every single week, an R-rated comedy such as No Hard Feelings could prove to be a welcome change of pace and palate cleanser. This is the kind of movie that’s perfect for a Friday night out, allowing the audience to sit back, unwind from the week’s stress, and usher in the weekend with a few laughs. Hopefully, it marks the return of R-rated comedies to the mainstream as well.
Sergio Pereira is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa. He has a strong interest in comic books, film, music, and comedy, having been in the entertainment journalism space for over 15 years.
Sergio is also an accredited Rotten Tomatoes reviewer and has interviewed numerous celebrities in this time. He is the author of the highly rated fantasy comedy novel The Not-So-Grim Reaper and numerous short stories. In addition, he is the co-writer of the South African crime drama film The Lifesaver. As a columnist, he contributes to Looper, Grunge, Screen Rant, Ranker, CBR, SYFY WIRE, IGN Africa, and Fortress of Solitude.
For Sergio, all he wants in life is to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eclipse the Justice League as the greatest heroes of all time. Then, he will sleep peacefully.