Review: The Hating Game (2021)


The Hating Game (2021)

Directed by: Peter Hutchings | 102 minutes | comedy, romance | Actors: Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Damon Daunno, Sakina Jaffrey, Corbin Bernsen, Yasha Jackson, Sean Cullen, Nance Williamson, Shona Tucker, Brock Yurich, Robby Johnson

Thanks to a merger between two publishers, Lucy (Lucy Hale) and Joshua (Austin Stowell) have become immediate colleagues. It’s hate at first sight. Everything about him is against Lucy; his orderliness, the fact that he constantly corrects her, his predictability (from his shirt she knows what day of the week it is). But there’s a fine line between hate and love, everyone knows—including Lucy. Because if you hate the other person so much, you can’t change that, right? If necessary, turn your desk a quarter turn so that you are not confronted with the sight of your nemesis every time you look up from your laptop…

But no, in ‘The Hating Game’, based on Sally Thorne’s bestseller, the two colleagues don’t take any steps to improve the situation. They keep making hateful comments to each other. Meanwhile, complaints about the bickering between the two are pouring into the HR department. When a vacancy opens for managing director, for which both Lucy and Joshua are good candidates, the battle erupts. But when Lucy has an erotic dream, in which Joshua plays an important role, she suddenly starts to look at the hated man with different eyes. And then it turns out that Joshua doesn’t hate her as much as Lucy thought.

‘The Hating Game’ is a sparkling, sexy romantic comedy, reminiscent of the heyday of the romkom. Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell are not only very attractive, the chemistry between the two actors is palpable. Sure, the plot is as predictable as Josh’s choice of clothes and the way Lucy applies her lipstick, but you’re still left guessing about the main characters’ motivations. You know that Lucy is secretly impressed by her handsome competitor, but is his interest in her genuine or is he just doing this to get the job?

Although the rom is fine, the bowl is actually a bit disappointing. There are a few jokes that totally miss the mark, such as the one with the unworldly hotel clerk and an unnecessary paintball sequence. Josh’s sexist boss also has some cringe-inducing remarks – nice meaning maybe, but that has to be your humor. In the overcrowded genre, however, ‘The Hating Game’ stands out, because you actually hope that these two will have a happy ending.