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No Hard Feelings Team Responds to Controversy Over Film Premise

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The No Hard Feelings director Gene Stupnitsky addressed concerns over the film’s controversial 13-year age gap between Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman’s characters.

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The No Hard Feelings team hopes there are no hard feelings over their movie.

Gene Stupnitsky, the movie’s director and co-writer, recently addressed criticisms over the raunchy comedy’s plot, which centers around two consists of parents hiring 32-year-old Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) to “date”—a euphemism for something much more intimate—their 19-year-old son, Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman).

While the premise has led to eyebrow-raising on social media over the characters’ age gap and concerns over possible creepiness, Stupnitsky remains assured that, upon seeing the comedy, viewers will come away with a different opinion.

“If you feel that way when you come out of the movie, I would be surprised,” Stupnitsky told The Hollywood Reporter in an article published June 24. “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.”

Lawrence seemingly reacted to the buzz in an interview with USA Today in June, noting that the comedy calls back to risqué films from the early aughts.

“You’re aware that you’re making something that’s so offensive and so wrong,” she said. “And you have it in your mind like, ‘God, I haven’t seen a movie like this in a long time,’ but more, ‘Oh, no. Is this going to be OK?'”

And she’s not the only cast members speaking out about the project. Laura Benanti, who plays Percy’s mom Allison, said No Hard Feelings satirizes helicopter parents, the term for people who intensely oversee their children’s lives.

“It’s a cautionary tale,” she told THR. “If you are a helicopter parent who puts your child in such a bubble, they do not know how to exist outside of that bubble, you are going to make the exact opposite and insane choice, which is what they are doing here. I feel like it is a very satirical look at what can happen if you do not give your children a longer leash to figure things out for themselves. Otherwise, you’re going to end up curating their life forever.”

Sony Pictures

Matthew Broderick, who portrays Percy’s dad Laird, also agreed, while reflecting on his own experiences of dropping his and Sarah Jessica Parker‘s son James Wilkie off at college.

“I guess what happens is when a kid goes off to school, it’s so frightening that they’ll be happy and they’ll make friends and they’ll take care of themselves that some parents go to any length to make that transition work,” he told THR. “And it’s a hard time. I’ve been through it. But you really have to let them make it on their own. But these parents decide to mess with nature.”

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