The director of Jennifer Lawrence's raunchy new sex comedy defends the movie's controversial age-gap premise: 'We took a humanist approach'

  • "No Hard Feelings" is a new R-rated comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman.

  • In the film, Lawrence's older character is hired to seduce teenage Feldman's by his parents.

  • The film's premise was controversial, but its cast and crew have stood behind it.

Jennifer Lawrence's new comedy "No Hard Feelings" features a significant age gap between its two main characters, but the director and stars are defending the film's outlandish premise.

The movie, which premiered on Friday, stars Lawrence as a 32-year-old bartender who gets hired by a pair of overbearing parents to date their 19-year-old son (Andrew Barth Feldman) before he goes to college. As British Vogue and Bust reported, there's been some backlash to the film's premise, specifically when it comes to Lawrence's character attempting to seduce Feldman's despite their 13-year age gap in the film.

Director Gene Stupnitsky, who also co-wrote the screenplay, told The Hollywood Reporter that he didn't think audiences would leave the film feeling icky.

"If you feel that way when you come out of the movie, I would be surprised," he told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet at the film's New York premiere. "We took great pains to be careful about the ick factor because it could go that way... We took a humanist approach and I think that's all you can ask for."

Feldman previously spoke about the backlash in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying that while he knew it was inevitable, his character was an adult. The actor said that "No Hard Feelings" was a "cringe comedy" that was meant to make people "uncomfortable."

Laura Benanti and Matthew Broderick, who have kids of their own in real life, play the overbearing parents in question. They also stood by the film's premise at the premiere, with Benanti telling The Hollywood Reporter that the film was a "cautionary tale" about parents who "end up curating" their children's lives.

Natalie Morales, who plays one of Lawrence's character's friends in the film, says that there are plenty of films that feature an older male star compared to a younger woman.

"Have you seen 'The Graduate?'" Morales told The Hollywood Reporter. "[Lawrence is] supposed to be playing an older woman. There are so many movies where the male lead is much older than the female lead, and TV shows especially, and nobody bats an eye. So what's the difference?"

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