Comic Relief: ‘No Hard Feelings’ is dumb and fun
Last week, I entered my local cinema, prepared to enrich my mind with the latest piece of artwork. Film is a powerful tool that has the ability to create discussion, form bonds and make change. As actor Diego Luna said, “Cinema is a mirror that can change the world.”
Equipped with my blue raspberry ICEE — which was left largely untouched due to the flimsy paper straw accompanying it — I took my seat, ready “to laugh, to cry, to care.” (Unfortunately, my local movie theater is a Cinemark, so I’ll never fully experience the joy of cinema.)
After innumerable ads, the lights cut and the cultural experience began.
“No Hard Feelings” follows Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) — a 32-year-old woman at risk of losing her childhood home. When her car gets repoed, she loses her Uber side gig, and things are looking bleak. Desperate enough to do anything, she eventually answers a couple’s ad to (do more than) date their 19-year-old son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), before he goes to college in exchange for a car.
What ensues is somewhat predictable — through a series of hijinks, the unlikely duo ends up growing a mutual appreciation and learning from each other. Thankfully, the 13-year age gap does not get overlooked, and the two do not actually end up together.
This isn’t a movie review; it’s not a perfect movie, and I am not claiming it to be one. I’m just here to say it made me laugh quite a bit.
Some highlights include Maddie fighting a few teens on the beach while completely naked, Maddie trying to walk up the stairs in rollerblades and Maddie saving Percy from an ibuprofen-alcohol-filled night. Basically, JLaw is a comedic mastermind.
Despite many laugh-worthy moments throughout the movie, there were only a few light chuckles in the theater. Being the insecure person I am, I stifled my would-be chortles into chuckles.
An especially grueling moment was when Kyle “cut-for-time” Mooney popped up as Jody, Percy’s childhood nanny. Honestly, just looking at Mooney is enough to start the chuckles sometimes.
While he was — devastatingly — only in two scenes, he provided more than I could ask for with the time he was given.
My favorite scene — and the one that has haunted me for the past few days — took place after Jody attempted to get revenge on Maddie for breaking Percy’s heart after Percy discovered she was hired by his parents.
Trying to explain it will completely butcher the comedic timing, but in broad strokes: Jody’s revenge on Maddie fails, he asks to use her bathroom and declares “It’s a number two” or something like that.
And I let out a little giggle.
Not a single other person in the theater did.
I’m so sorry that I thought we were watching a comedy. On our debriefing walk back to the car from the movie, my friends even pointed out that I was the only one to laugh.
At what age am I supposed to age out of potty jokes? I’m 20, and it would be hard to find a fart noise that would not make me laugh. Earlier this year, I saw Jenny Slate perform stand-up. She had a bit about a lactose intolerance accident, and I cried so much that my eyes burned.
On that fateful night in the Cinemark, I was, at first, mad at the audience for not laughing at the stupid jokes. They should lighten up, I thought. But eventually, I realized I can only be mad at myself for stifling my own laughter. Someone else’s lack of response shouldn’t dictate how I enjoy myself. Life is so much better when trying to compose yourself after a laughing fit.
Not everyone is going to think “No Hard Feelings” is funny. I need to grow up and realize that a throwaway poo joke is not funny to all. But, in that growth, I need to not lose that juvenile aspect of my humor that makes me think a potty joke is hilarious. Because it is way more fun to laugh at something than pooh-pooh it. (See, it’s fun!)
So, if you are in need of a laugh, go see “No Hard Feelings,” but only if you know — and are willing to own — your immature sensibilities.
Kimberly Aguirre is a rising junior writing about comedy in her column, “Comic Relief.” She is also an associate managing editor at the Daily Trojan.