“No Hard Feelings,” a comedy-drama, opens in theaters on June 23. Here’s the plot: Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) is broke when she answers a very unusual ad. A wealthy couple are concerned about their son, Percy, who is a brilliant high school student, but is not interested in people — no friends, no dates. They hire Maddie, to quote the film, to “date Percy’s brains out.”
The “No Hard” trailers are quite amusing, and, of course, Jennifer Lawrence is a terrific actress, equally good at drama or comedy. She has a sharp eye for good scripts and almost all her films are critical and box-office hits. Her presence alone makes me high on the film.
MATTHEW BRODERICK, 61, plays Percy’s father, and EBON MOSS-BACHRACH, 46, (“Girls” on HBO and “The Bear” on Hulu) plays Gary, a family friend.
ANDREW BARTH FELDMAN, 20, who plays Percy, is making his feature film debut. He has an amazing track record, already, as a musical stage actor, on and off Broadway. In 2019, he played the title role in the long-running Broadway show “Dear Evan Hansen.”
Normally, I have some difficulty “verifying” that a young actor is Jewish. However, the NY Times made it easy for me. They did a long profile of Feldman when he was 16 and was about to play Evan Hansen. The profile noted that his bar mitzvah project was to put on a cabaret-night at his school with the box-office receipts going to autism research. The cabaret was such a hit that it became an annual event. By the way, Feldman grew-up on Long Island.
“No Hard Feelings” was co-written by and directed by GENE STUPNITSKY, 45. He was born in Kyiv, and grew-up in a Chicago suburb. He was a long-time writer for “The Office,” and he wrote and directed “Good Boys” (2019), a hit comedy film.
I hope Stupnitsky hits a home run with this film. It’s been a long time since Hollywood has released an intelligent, “coming-of-age” film that amuses teen and adult audiences alike.
Stan Lee, a new documentary, is now streaming on the Disney+ channel. Of course, it is about the “father of the Marvel Universe” STAN LEE (1920 – 2018). The film got rave reviews from critics. The most interesting review, I think, was written by OWEN GLIEBERMAN, 64, for Variety (free online; 6/10).
The Variety review functions as a short, but very insightful biography of Lee. Its first paragraph (just below) made me want to see the film, pronto.
“There’s a moment in “Stan Lee” David Gelb’s lively and illuminating documentary about the visionary of Marvel Comics, that’s momentous enough to give you a tingle. The year is 1961, and Lee, approaching 40, is burnt out on comics. It’s a form he has never taken all that seriously, even though he’s been working at it since 1939, when he started, at 17, as a gofer….Within two years he’d become the company’s editor, art director, and chief writer… The comics he creates get so little respect that he tries to hide his profession when asked about it at cocktail parties…. He is ordered to devise a team of superheroes that can compete with DC’s Justice League…Lee, weary of superheroes, is ready to quit the business…. With nothing to lose, he comes up with the Fantastic Four as a new breed of superhero: characters with a dash of angst and a host of ordinary problems…”
DAVID GELB, 39, is the son of PETER GELB, 70, the artistic director of the Metropolitan Opera, and the grandson of the late ARTHUR GELB, a managing editor of the NY Times.
Lyricist CYNTHIA WEIL died on June 1, age 82. Weil’s professional partner was composer BARRY MANN, now 84. They married (1961) shortly after they began working together and they remained married until Weil’s death. So far as I know, they were a devoted couple. They had one child, DR. JENN MANN, a psychologist. They had hits in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.
If you have never heard of them, or barely heard of them, here is a very partial list of their big hits and the artist(s) most associated with the song: “You Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” — the most played song on American radio in the 20th C.!! — and “You’re My Soul and Inspiration” (both Righteous Brothers); “Don’t Know Much” and “Somewhere Out There” (both Linda Ronstadt); “Here You Come Again” (Dolly Parton); “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”(The Animals); “On Broadway” (The Drifters); and “Walking in the Rain” (The Ronettes).