Jennifer Lawrence & Andrew Barth Feldman on No Hard Feelings' Campiness/Raunch

Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman
Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman
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At a glance, No Hard Feelings is a throwback to early ‘80s raunchy comedies like Porky’s and Losin’ It, about teens racing to lose their virginity. But the Jennifer Lawrence starrer turns the old trope on its head when her character accepts an offer to pull Andrew Barth Feldman’s shy 19-year-old Percy out of his shell by any means possible the summer before he heads to Princeton. His parents, played by Broadway stars Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti, offer Maddie a Buick Regal that will help her keep her job as an Uber driver and ultimately save her family home — that is, if she succeeds in spurring Percy toward adulthood.

“Percy is somebody who has the right to make his own decisions but doesn’t yet know how to and is really stuck in this bubble that his parents had built for him that he wants to fight against,” Feldman (High School Musical: The Musical Series) tells The Advocate. “He doesn't realize even how comfortable it is for him. That’s why extensive measures need to be taken in this movie. And slowly he learns how to voice what it is that he needs, how to know what it is that he needs, and become the adult that he is.”

An Oscar winner for Silver Linings Playbook and star of the juggernaut Hunger Games franchise, Lawrence is comedy gold as she works desperately for the car. While the film is often raunchily funny, from a naked fight scene to an accidental throat punch, the movie, from director Gene Stupnitsky (written by Stupnitsky and John Phillips), touches on real issues of grief and classism as Maddie faces losing her mother’s house to the influx of wealthy New Yorkers invading her Long Island hometown. Amid all of it, Maddie and Percy find a real connection.

“She has her entire life kind of turned upside down and changed by this considerate, kind boy who wants a connection with love,” Lawrence says. “I don't think that it's really ever occurred to Maddie that could happen or would be something that she would be capable of doing or be interested in doing — this boy who is a virgin but still has such a specific idea of how love should be, as opposed to this girl [Maddie who] has been in plenty of relationships but hasn't even thought of love that way. I think it really changes her mindset on love.”

While there are no overtly queer characters on-screen, the comedy is inherently campy, with queer star Natalie Morales as Maddie’s best friend who’s always ready with a quip and with Broderick and Benanti as Percy’s parents.

“I was cast before the parents were, so there's this real question about like, ‘Who is it going to be? And never in a million years would I have thought that it would be like this sweet Broadway family,” Feldman says. “It’s so cool that my dad is literally Simba. I’m huge fans of them both, so to get to play with them and also have to set aside my admiration and respect for them and treat them as my annoying, overbearing parents was a fun challenge.”

Watch the Advocate Channel’s interview with Lawrence and Feldman below. No Hard Feelings is now in theaters.