Jennifer Lawrence‘s latest comedy, No Hard Feelings, has hit theaters and is garnering moderate success, signaling a positive outlook for R-rated comedies in the future. However, The Hollywood Reporter took it upon themselves to ensure that the film’s premise is not mistaken for an endorsement of such behavior in real life. The movie revolves around Lawrence’s character, a 32-year-old woman who responds to a Craigslist ad from a couple seeking someone to “date” their socially awkward 19-year-old son. The comedic premise, evident even in the trailer, sets the stage for a storyline where things don’t quite go as planned, and everyone learns valuable lessons along the way.
Amidst the concern over appropriateness, THR caught up with the film’s cast and crew at its premiere to address any misinterpretations. Laura Benanti, who portrays one of the parents, emphasizes that the film offers a satirical perspective on the consequences of not allowing children the space to navigate life on their own terms. Matthew Broderick, who plays the other parent, acknowledges that their characters are in the wrong, emphasizing the importance of allowing children the freedom to forge their own paths. In their misguided attempt, “these parents decide to mess with nature.”
The producers and writer/director Gene Stupnitsky also clarified that while the film draws inspiration from a real Craigslist ad, they did not delve into the specifics of its outcome, if any. No Hard Feelings isn’t a portrayal of real-life events, but rather an exaggerated depiction of helicopter parenting and the societal pressures to conform. Stupnitsky expresses doubt that viewers would perceive the film as creepy, as they took great care to mitigate any discomfort, adopting a humanist approach to the story.
Indeed, it doesn’t require extensive media literacy to understand that a movie trailer does not imply an endorsement of paying someone to manipulate an introverted child into having sex. Such concerns, if any, were likely addressed by the filmmakers due to the subject matter’s inherent absurdity and the fact that it serves as comedic material. It’s important to remember that not everything that unfolds in a film is a direct reflection of the filmmakers’ personal beliefs, especially when the events portrayed are intentionally outlandish and intended for comedic effect.