No bad vibes: Jennifer Lawrence and the new ‘anti-wanker’ comedy (***)

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In the natural order of supervening immaturity are teen comedies on the one hand and romantic comedies on the other. In both cases, and summarizing a lot, it is about lying. Of lying to us In the first, the idea is to give a little epic and even lyrical to the most banally prosaic, embarrassing and incomprehensible period of existence: puberty. And in the second, all the effort goes into dreaming about the possibility that things could be otherwise -as perhaps we dreamed of in the past- and always better. The first celebrates the surreal disorder of hormones and the second refutes the anguishing and musty order imposed by cholesterol, baldness and incipient (or unseemly) bellies. But basically, and the contradictions end here, the argument is none other than the transit that goes from or towards immaturity. Children who enter the adult world and adults who, in the doze of a cinema or a simple screen, imagine they are still children. And so.

Valid all of the above, to situate Without bad rolls, a comedy for teenagers where the troublemaker is the older woman (not that much either, just thirty years old) that is also a romantic comedy where the leading man is an inappetent boy slightly related by manners to a confused Hugh Grant from other times. And it is there, in its provocative refutation of both traditions where the film directed by Gene Stupnitsky It shows all its potential, its success and even drops the possibility that we may be facing a perhaps missed opportunity.

The story of a woman is told, a total disaster of a woman, incapable of almost everything. The first scene sets about the track. the character of Jennifer Lawrence receives a visit from his partner. The latter, a tow truck driver, shows up with the firm intention of requisitioning the unpaid car of his ex. The conflict will end with a naked Italian. He usually passes. Without a car, her livelihood, she loses the family home. The only way out of the mess and ruin will be to accept a curious job halfway between the performance of ‘au pair‘, prostitution, charity work and plain chutzpah. Some rich parents are looking for someone to wake up their son (Andrew Barth Feldman). Not exactly deflowering him, but almost.

Let’s just say the offensive start is crazy enough to be disconcerting. And this is good. not exactly and suddenly you, with a runaway Amy Schumer, but it looks like her. She doesn’t want to be a deranged new version of Pretty Woman, but the reference remains there as the remains of peanuts remain in the food of someone allergic to nuts: with the sole purpose of intoxicating. It is not, of course, Supersalidos, since the only one active in bed is her, but the obsession with sex as a space for redemption is still there. Grace, so to speak, is none other than all the work that the director of the hilarious good boys in being the opposite of everything up to, where appropriate, the opposite of himself. The problem, which there is, is that none of the jokes live up to the brilliant idea it commands (or messes up, depending on how you look at it) the entire film always determined to refute itself at every step it takes. And that, let’s face it, is serious. Very serious even.

In retrospect, teen comedy is indeed a subgenre that is always underestimated and too gleefully replicated. Its origin would be in American style rampage (1978), by John Landis, would advance steadily throughout the 1980s hand in hand with John Hughes and would experience its moment of late glory (or postglory) thanks to Judd Apatow and his boys, already mentioned, from supersalidos (memorable the anger that Seth Rogen got when they explained to him that his script Superbad had been translated into Spanish as Supersalidos). In between, it is worth mentioning the efforts of people as independent and disruptive as Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater who insisted on turning the matter around to its most gratifying and melancholic dignity.

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