No Hard Feelings

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Comedy;
Box Office $50.45 million;
$34.99 DVD, 38.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for Sexual content, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.
Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman, Laura Benanti, Natalie Morales, Scott MacArthur, Matthew Broderick.

Jennifer Lawrence joins the ranks of raunch in a coming-of-age comedy that blends the sensibilities of Superbad with a premise not unlike Failure to Launch.

Lawrence plays Maddie, a 32-year-old slacker eking out a meager living in the Hamptons living in a house left to her by her late mother. Falling behind on her property taxes, her plan to save the house through providing ride shares is thwarted when her car is repossessed.

In desperate need of supplemental income, she stumbles upon an ad from a pair of helicopter parents who will give one of their used cars to a girl to sleep with their recent high school graduate son to bring him out of his shell before he leaves for college. The parents (Laura Benanti and Matthew Broderick) were seeking someone more in their son’s age range, but Maddie convinces them her relative maturity will bring the desired results.

Maddie then sets out to seduce Percy (Andrew Barth Feldman), whose awkward demeanor makes him wary of her at first, but he’s quickly ensnared by her aggressive sexual advances. Her plans hit a snag, however, when he seemingly falls in love decides to abandon college to stay with her.

The story was supposedly based on a real Craigslist ad discovered by the filmmakers, who found Lawrence was more than willing to partake in the risqué nature of the humor. The performances are solid and the script offers some good laughs, but the film misses an opportunity for a truly madcap scenario suggested about halfway through when Percy is invited to a party by a girl he went to school with who also seems to want to sleep with him. As Maddie’s deal with the parents is contingent upon Percy not dating anyone “the natural way,” she has to crash the party to put a stop with it, leading to all sorts of “older people at a kids party” jokes. But it also raises the question of what if Maddie wasn’t the only one the parents hired, thus making the unsuspecting Percy the prime target in a Hamptons battleground of young women eager to jump his bones.  

Thrusting Maddie into the middle of such a free-for-all kind of plot might also have been good for a few “Hunger Games” jokes, so it’s understandable if Lawrence would have preferred the film not go in that direction. Instead, the filmmakers chose an ending that leans more toward the sentimental.

Home video extras include an amusing three-and-a-half-minute gag reel, plus two behind-the-scenes featurettes. The six minute “A Little Wrong: Making No Hard Feelings” covers the production in general, while the seven-minute “A Motley Crew: Meet the Characters” focuses on the performances of the main actors.

‘The Dogs of War’ and ‘The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood’ Headed to Blu-ray Nov. 23 From Ronin Flix and MVD

Two 1980 titles, The Dogs of War and The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood, are being released on Blu-ray Nov. 23 from Ronin Flix and MVD Entertainment Group.

In the action adventure The Dogs of War, Christopher Walken (Pennies From Heaven, Heaven’s Gate, The Deer Hunter) is brutal mercenary Jamie Shannon (Walken), a cynical warrior-for-hire who feels truly alive only in the heat of battle. He takes the most challenging assignment of his career: to invade a corrupt African dictatorship and shift control to the “puppet” of a powerful British corporation. To prepare, Shannon trains and equips a squad of deadly mercenaries with the latest and most destructive tactics and military hardware. But as their explosive assault begins, Shannon finds himself embroiled in an internal conflict of his own: Will this be his greatest triumph, or has he sold his soul along with his battle expertise? Tom Berenger (Platoon, Last Rites, Major League), Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Sender, The Final Option), Hugh Millais (Images, The Wicked Lady), JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist, Teachers, American Dreamers) and Colin Blakely (Equus, Nijinsky, The Big Sleep) co-star in the film directed by John Irvin (Hamburger Hill, Next of Kin, Raw Deal) and filmed by D.P. Jack Cardiff (The African Queen, Dark of the Sun, The Awakening). The special edition includes both the U.S. theatrical (104 minutes, rated ‘R’) and international (118 Minutes, not rated) cuts, plus a limited-edition slipover (while supplies last). Bonus features include interviews with co-stars Paul Freeman and Maggie Scott, co-writer George Malko, first assistant director Anthony Waye, production designer Peter Mullins, and costume designer Emma Porteous.

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The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood is the third and final film in the “Happy Hooker” sex comedy trilogy, a series loosely based on the memoirs of Xaviera Hollander, a prostitute from the Netherlands. It stars two time bond girl Martine Beswick (From Russia with Love, Thunderball), Adam West (TV’s “Batman”), Phil Silvers, Chris Lemmon and Richard Deacon (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”) with special guest appearances by Edie Adams and Army Archerd. In the film, when Xaviera (Beswick), now a best-selling author, has Tinseltown calling with a less-than-savory offer for her book, she flexes her independent spirit, deciding to film the movie herself. Bonus features include new on-camera interviews with stars Martine Beswick and Chris Lemmon.