Based on the popular book of the same name, The Hating Game introduces us to Lucy Hutton (Lucy Hale), who works for a book publishing company. After a recent merger with another company, Lucy has been forced to share a large office with a co-worker, their desks facing one another. Normally this isn’t a problem for Lucy; however, in the case of Joshua (Austin Stowell), there’s just one issue- they hate each other and struggle to get along each day. The company has received several complaints about the two bickering rudely in front of other staff, and the two constantly fail to work as a team.
Soon Lucy’s company makes a massive announcement. A perfect career opportunity has now become available for Lucy to take the next step in the workplace, but there’s just one issue. She will have to go up against her enemy, Joshua, who is also interested in applying for the same job. Not only does Lucy have her eye on getting the new job, but she starts to discover a strange and growing sexual attraction towards Joshua. Lucy begins to question if the gloves between the two can ever come down.
I’ve never read the book, but it’s quite evident this film has been made for the fans who adored the popular reading material. There’s no other way to say it- this is a trashy romantic comedy. The film focuses its romance on sexual desires and attraction between two leads. There’s nothing generally new here as a plot, and we’ve seen films before that carry the same plot outline beat for beat right up to the film’s ending credits.
When it comes to the actors, I generally like both of them, but as characters, I found them to be either vague, wooden or confusing, especially Lucy. The dialogue among leads is also childish and, at many times, cringe-worthy. In fact, the dialogue is so damaging that characters we are supposed to love and cheer on sound unlikeable and, dare I say it, a little seedy or stalkerish in the romance department. Surrounding characters are forgettable and have random one-liners that never seem to land any real laughs or memorable moments. The climax feels forced, vague, somewhat rushed and painfully predictable. The duration overstays its welcome with a runtime that feels a lot longer than what the film truly is.
Overall, if you are a fan of the popular book, I’m confident you’ll be pleased with this film and be highly entertained. As a rom-com, there’s only one way to describe this film, and it’s trashy. It is a film that focuses more on physical attraction and sexual desires no matter the conflict between two people- certainly a questionable aspect of entertainment. The jokes here fail to deliver any real comedy or smiles, and the plot is filled with childish dialogue, cliché plot points and predictable outcomes. I generally like the actors here, but sadly, the script for the leading characters sometimes feels unfitting, cringy and even a little seedy. Like I said, seeking a trashy romance? This is one for you, but it’s certainly not winning everyone’s heart this Valentine’s Day.