Adult comedies have been a tough sell recently. Reaching their peak in the early 2010s with The Hangover films, Bridesmaids, and Ted, audience tastes have veered away from low-brow laughs.
Looking to reverse that trend is No Hard Feelings starring Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, who gives her all as Maddie, a hard up Uber driver who has her car repossessed. The solution? Answer an ad from a wealthy couple who want her to seduce their meek 19-year-old son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) before he goes to college.
What is a frankly horrifying premise on paper translates into a mediocre story. It’s difficult to know what the script is aiming for, other than fitting as many toilet humour gags as it can into 100 minutes.
The problem is that the film wants to be all things to all people. A bawdy crowd pleaser for the lads, lads, lads, but one with progressive sensibilities. It ends up doing neither particularly well, discovering too late that crude and wholesome mix about as well as oil and water.
It’s not all bad – Feldman is likeable as the weedy introvert whose overreactions to the world are funnier than they should be, but the positives column runs out of steam after that.
Adult comedies faded because many of us were tired of the stereotypes they perpetuated. Whether that’s progression or over-sensitivity depends on your point of view, but regardless No Hard Feelings is a comedy looking in vain for an audience.