Jennifer Lawrence's new Netflix movie was billed as a slapstick sex comedy, but that's just not true.

Jennifer Lawrence has always occupied a peculiar place in Hollywood. A performer beloved for her comedic nature, without ever having starred in a big-screen comedy.

We've seen her as an apocalyptic teen heroine in The Hunger Games franchise and as a shapeshifting mutant in the X-Men universe, but the roles that propelled her onto the Oscar-winning actress tier are known for being serious, gritty and in many cases devoid of any actual audience joy.

(Even within her critically acclaimed movie, Joy).

In the same breath, her time on the promotional circuits for these prestige movies was peppered with hilarious viral moments and stories that painted the 33-year-old Oscar winner as a relatable goofball who seemed worlds away from the serious, often older, roles she had become known for.

Which is why it came as a bit of a surprise when the trailer for her new movie No Hard Feelings was released, marking the first time the actress has starred in a full-blown comedy film, and quite a retro-looking one at that.

From the trailer and the initial synopsis, No Hard Feelings felt very much like a callback to the early 2000s gross-out, sex comedies that ran rampant at the time across cinema screens.

Take a look at the trailer for No Hard Feelings right here. Post continues after video.

Video via Sony Pictures.

In the film, now streaming on Netflix, Lawrence plays Maddie Barker, a Montauk native who despises the rich families who use her town as a summer hangout and who avoids long-term relationships at all costs.

Despite the fact that her late mother left her their family home, her failure to pay taxes leaves Maddie in danger of losing it. Then, when her car is repossessed, leaving her unable to make cash as an Uber driver, she turns to an unconventional path to pay off her debts: Answering a Craigslist ad from a set of desperate (and wealthy) parents who are looking for a woman to date (and have sex with) their 19-year-old son Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman) in order to bring him out of his shell before he heads off to college.

As the movie's trailers suggested, No Hard Feelings is brimming with slapstick scenes (Maddie, for example, gets punched in the throat, sprayed with mace, and thrown around in a towed car while wearing roller skates) and crude sexual jokes that often make for a quick laugh but when you sit down to watch the actual movie, it's not exactly the bawdy comedy we were promised.

Which actually works in its favour.

As the plot progresses, No Hard Feelings begins to feel less like an R-rated expedition and more like a sweet summer coming-of-age movie, thanks in part to the performances of the lead cast.

Listen to this episode of The Spill. Post continues after podcast. 

Jennifer comes across as a naturally gifted comedic actress, and there's one particular unexpected scene, where her character emerges from the ocean naked, which still makes me laugh whenever the memory of it pops into my head. 

At the same time, her experience and expertise allows her to bring a level of depth and intensity to a character who could have easily just become a caricature and played for some cheap and easy laughs.


Andrew Barth Feldman, who has made the jump from musical theatre to films, perfectly holds his own as Percy against the established star, with his deadpanned delivery contributing to some of the biggest laughs of the film.

Without spoiling too much, No Hard Feelings is a sex comedy that is pretty much devoid of sex, but still manages to be completely entertaining and, at times, even a little heartfelt.

If you're looking for a film that delves into the nuances of sex work or the complexities and problematic nature of this age gap pairing then you best be moving right along because No Hard Feelings does glide over these issues in favour of a more easily digestible narrative.

It's not quite the massive career departure for Jennifer Lawrence that the promotion made it out to be, but if you're looking for a movie to give you a touch of humour and escapism, then No Hard Feelings is the new release you need to add to your watch list.

No Hard Feelings is streaming on Netflix now. It is rated MA15+

Laura Brodnik is Mamamia's Head of Entertainment and host of The Spill podcast. You can follow her on Instagram here.

Image: Sony Pictures.

This article was originally published in June 2023, and has since been updated. 

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