The Team Behind “No Hard Feelings” Responded To Criticism Over The “Creepy” Age Difference Between Jennifer Lawrence And Andrew Barth Feldman

In the movie, Jennifer Lawrence’s 32-year-old character is enlisted by a wealthy couple to seduce their unsuspecting 19-year-old son before he leaves for college.

Jennifer Lawrence’s first-ever big-screen comedy, No Hard Feelings, was released in theaters last Friday, and so far the reviews have been mixed.

Close-up of Jennifer at a media event

Vanity Fair described the film as the “perfect” comeback for J. Law, serving as a “reminder of why audiences fell in love with her in the first place.” But other outlets, including the Independent and Rolling Stone, have been more critical of the R-rated comedy — particularly the execution of its controversial storyline.

Close-up of Jennifer smiling

If you weren’t aware, No Hard Feelings centers on 32-year-old Maddie, a cash-strapped bartender who gets hired by a wealthy and overbearing couple to have sex with their 19-year-old son, Percy — played by Andrew Barth Feldman — before he leaves for college.

Close-up of Jennifer and Andrew sitting on a bench together

Loosely based on a real Craigslist ad, the film sees Jennifer’s Maddie go to extreme lengths to seduce the unsuspecting teen under his parents’ instruction. And as a result, the unlikely duo find themselves in some pretty awkward scenarios.

Close-up of Jennifer on her hands and knees and crying

Since the first trailer dropped in March, the cast and creators of the movie haven’t shied away from discussing the raunchy and divisive plot, with Jennifer herself even describing the film as “so offensive and so wrong.”

Needless to say, some fans and critics have taken issue with the premise, namely the age difference between the two leads, which has been described as “creepy.”

Close-up of Jennifer, in a sleeveless dress, and Andrew, in a suit and bow tie, at a media event

Despite this, the team behind No Hard Feelings touched on the controversy at the film’s New York City premiere last week, insisting that Maddie and Percy’s story serves to teach an important parenting lesson.

Close-up of Jennifer smiling and sitting in a dining booth with a drink in front of her

Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti — who play Percy’s parents in the movie — addressed the criticism of the plot, saying that their characters’ “insane” actions are a “cautionary tale” for overbearing parents.

Matthew and Laura sitting on a couch

“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,” Laura told the Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet.

Close-up of Jennifer and Andrew at a media event

“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,” she added. “Otherwise, you’re going to end up curating their life forever.”

Close-up of Laura at a media event

Comparing his own experience as a dad to three children with Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew also told the outlet that he’d “been through” the anxieties that come with watching your child transition into a new phase of their life.

Close-up of Matthew in a suit and tie

“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 said. “And it’s a hard time. … But you really have to let them make it on their own. But these parents decide to mess with nature.”

Matthew with his son, both wearing a suit and tie, at a media event

Similarly, producer Marc Provissiero acknowledged the absurdity of the story but said it ultimately aims to raise questions about how some parents overmanage their kids’ lives.

Andrew sitting on Jennifer's lap on a couch in the movie

“It’s parents overstepping their bounds, for sure,” he said. “It’s not that far removed from actual parenting choices. You want to do everything you can for your kid. Where’s the line?”

Close-up of Jennifer

The film’s director, Gene Stupnitsky, wrote the movie after a fellow producer made him aware of a real Craigslist ad from two parents in search of someone to date their inexperienced son. He didn’t reach out to the original posters of the ad, saying that it “didn’t really matter what happened and if anyone answered it.”

Andrew, Jennifer, and Gene at a media event

“It was just, who are these parents, these helicopter parents who are putting this ad out, and who’s their son? What’s going on there? And who answers this?” he said, discussing the inspiration for the script, which was written with Jennifer in mind.

Andrew sitting on a couch with Jennifer's rear end in his face in a scene from the movie

Acknowledging the criticism around Maddie and Percy’s 13-year age gap, the writer-director said that anyone who watched the film wouldn’t leave feeling creeped out by it, also noting that there was a 15-year age difference between Jennifer and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook.

Bradley in a suit and tie with Jennifer at a media event

“It goes the other way too,” he said. “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.”

Jennifer and Andrew smiling at each other at a media event

Echoing this, Natalie Morales — who plays a friend of Jennifer’s character in the movie — raised the point that plenty of well-known films have significant age gaps between the leads.

Close-up of Jennifer and Andrew at a media event

“Have you seen The Graduate?” she said, referring to the 1968 film. “[Jennifer 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.”

Gene Stupnitsky, Natalie Morales, and Jennifer Lawrence at the movie's premiere

No Hard Feelings is in theaters now.

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