Hard Feelings (2023) Movie Review – A Netflix comedy that will turn you on for all the right reasons

A Netflix comedy that will turn you on for all the right reasons

High School can be challenging for any student thanks to peer pressure and excessive workloads and it can become even more difficult when their hormones kick in and they start thinking with their body parts instead of their brains!

Such is the case for Charly, the teenage protagonist in Hard Feelings, a new German comedy that is currently streaming on Netflix. Not only does he have to deal with all the usual problems today’s teens face at school, he also has to worry about his penis, which stands to attention at the most inopportune moments (at one point, he has an erection while performing on his school stage). He also has to conceal the fact that his penis has the ability to talk!

Charly isn’t the only person in the movie with chattering genitalia. His best friend Paula has a similar problem and the movie follows them both as they try to navigate the typical challenges teenagers face at home and school while also trying to deal with their very vocal body parts.

At this point, you might think Hard Feelings is a very silly sex comedy, along the lines of American Pie or Porky’s, and at times, the movie does share similarities. When Charly’s dad walks in on him masturbating, you might be reminded of the scene in American Pie when Jim’s dad walked in on his son doing unmentionable things with a pastry! There’s also a gross-out moment featuring a dog that wouldn’t look out of place in one of the many sex comedies that were released throughout the 80s and 90s.

However, this is actually a smarter movie than it initially appears to be as underneath the comical hijinks featuring the two teen’s articulating organs is a movie that tries and often succeeds to convey the struggles teenagers face when trying to keep a lid on their rampaging hormones. It also deals with other issues many teenagers have to contend with, such as family breakups, the pressure to have sex, and insecurities about appearance.

The movie also demonstrates the differences between boys and girls in the high school environment. At one point in the movie, some of the guys applaud Charly when they think he has lost his virginity while Paula is “slut shamed” by some of the other girls when they think she has done the same.

As such, this is a movie that will be relatable to many, despite its bizarre premise. It has much in common with Big Mouth, the raunchy animated comedy series on Netflix that features a bunch of high schoolers and their talking hormones. It can also be compared to another Netflix show, Sex Education, which also highlights the problems teens face because of their sexual hang-ups and out-of-control libidos.

Tobias Schäfer and Cosima Henman, who take on the roles of Charly and Paula, both deliver excellent performances, ably displaying the anxieties and insecurities of their respective characters. It’s thanks to the quality of their acting that we can buy into their predicament. They could have overplayed their parts (their roles, not their genitals) for the sake of comedy, with over-the-top reactions to their characters’ talking genitalia. But instead, they approach their roles with sensitivity and therefore come across like real teenagers and not the cartoonish stereotypes that we may we have seen before in teen comedies that favour raunchiness over any attempts at honesty.

Hard Feelings is a much better movie than I expected, mainly because it’s not as dumb as it could have been. It deals with all of the issues I have mentioned already and deals with other topics, such as the messiness of adult relationships when communication breaks down. It’s also very funny at times, which is what you would hope for from a movie about horny teens and talking genitalia. So, while the movie is honest and truthful about the pressures teens face when growing up, it never forgets to make us laugh.

I don’t think teens should watch this with their parents though – there are moments when all but the most liberated families will squirm in their seats when watching it together – but after separate viewings, it could be used as a conversation starter for both parents and their teens when wanting to bring up such subjects as peer pressure and hormonal changes. It could even be used for sex education lessons in schools, although teachers should be prepared for a lot of sniggering and suppressed feelings from their student audience.

Hard Feelings isn’t a movie that will leave you hanging. It’s risque without being overly raunchy and it manages to convey positive messages within the framework of its bonkers premise. It should turn you on, for all of the right reasons, so is definitely worth a watch, especially if you’re among the target audience.


Read More: Hard Feelings Ending Explained

Feel free to check out more of our movie reviews here!

  • Verdict - 7/10

Leave a comment