I have mentioned this in passing but one of the reasons I really enjoy Kdramas these days is because they feature a lot of traditional romcom elements. The kind that used to be very present in western cinema and TV… but has slowly disappeared. Granted they are mostly silly, sexist and create unrealistic expectations in women but I don’t care. I miss romcoms a lot. So when I heard they were going to make a popular book The Hating Game into a movie I was excited.
First of all I want to emphasise that I didn’t set myself out to dislike The Hating Game. I had some expectations and a little bit of reservations but other than that I was ready to enjoy it. And to be completely honest, I didn’t hate it per-say but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go for that world play. It just has a very good ring to it. But why did I dislike The Hating Game? Luckily the reason itself doesn’t even have anything to do with spoilers so I can tell you this without any reservations. The Hating Game lacks chemistry… and it needs a shit ton of it.
The movie stars Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars who is an okay actress. She has this cute little face, she is petite, she looks adorable. She portrays Lucy Hutton, an assistants to the co-CEOs of a publishing company. Then there’s Austin Stowell who I have no recollection of but apparently he was in Whiplash. He portrays Joshua Templeman, a tall, brooding man who is the other co-CEOs assistant.
They sit across from each other and they HATE each other. A feeling they pretty much don’t even try to hide and the whole office complains about them because Lucy and Joshua are so LOUD with expressing the HATE between them. Long story short, there is a thin line between hate and love and as a wise woman Rachel Greene once said, the line could be a scarf. The Hating Game doesn’t have a scarf but it has an elevator. But as tensions reach boiling point and an innocent elevator ride turns into a steamy kiss, Lucy begins to realise just how fine a line there is between love and hate.
BLAND FROM THE START
By the way The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is one of my favourite romcom books. I don’t remember all of it but I am pretty certain the steamy stuff didn’t happen so soon. The movie version feels rushed and with a genre where the outcome is so blatantly obvious anyway, you want at least the journey to the end be fun and exciting. To be fair the script was adapted by Christina Mengert who doesn’t have a lot of movie writing experience. Her first screenplay was for Peace, Love & Misunderstanding which by the looks of it isn’t as good. The man behind the camera (why men keep directing romcoms for women is a mystery to me) was Peter Hutchings and he also hasn’t done much. He wrote Can You Keep a Secret? which was actually a bit entertaining but still super bad.
Now that I think about it… I don’t remember any of the supporting characters or roles. The main conflict also feels pointless and too generic, at least the parts of it I remember. What a sad realisation right before I’m ready to wrap this review up…
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I love The Hating Game book. Books are the best place to get rom coms and enemies to lovers is a popular romance trope (also an upcoming theme for TMP).
I have been looking forward to the adaptation but don’t have much expectation. One of the reasons is I think the lead female character is miscast…I kinda think she is a little too old for the role not because Hale is too sweet (I’ve seen her play not sweet characters before, she’s ok)…the character is supposed to be sweet, she is sweet to everyone but Josh. I feel like maybe 5 years ago Hale was a better fit because the Lucy character in the book appears very young like mid 20s while Josh is older.
Your description of Stowell at least in terms of physical description seems to me exactly what Josh is suppose to be from what I remember from the books. But I can totally understand how chemistry can be the one that can fail a movie. Like I can imagine, people see two good looking actors and they would reasonably think they would look good on screen together…but chemistry is hard to pull off.
And I don’t know if I’m remembering it wrong but wasn’t their desks like up against each other in the book rather than across the room.
Stowell and Hale were actually co-stars on the Fantasy Island movie.
I’ll be watching this once it’s streaming in Prime (which I think is 2.11) but I was a bit concerned about the casting too… I liked the book okay… it wasn’t my favorite but it was cute. I know Robbie Amell was originally the male lead but he had to drop out when it was postponed. I’m definitely worried about chemistry! It makes or breaks a rom-com.