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The Hating Game Review: Lucy Hale & Austin Stowell in Sexy Rom-Com

Can an R-rated rom-com capture the same gripping magic as the best-selling novel? With a winning male lead couple, the drama is over.

The rules of obnoxious game are not set, they are constantly changing to accommodate rapid conditions. Unique constant: its player, Lucy (Lucy Hale) and Josh (Austin Stowell), dueling assistants at a publishing house who not only seem incapable of eye-to-eye, but are very close to actually punching said eye. There really is a thin line between love and hate, and as Peter Hutchings’ “Hate Game” unfolds, Lucy and Josh are left with nothing but to tear that line apart forever. Fans of bestselling author Sally Thorne, who exploded onto the romance scene with the 2016 novel based on the Hutchings film, will no doubt know what to expect from the story version, but fans Cinema fans will probably be thrilled by a rom-com that dares – gasp! – really sexy.

Since they very different publishers merged, Lucy and Josh went head-to-head. As respective assistants to the co-CEO of the newly founded B&G Publishing, Lucy and Josh both share the same ambitions and goals, but their methods couldn’t be further from one another. Consider their desks, located opposite each other (oh, the pain of standing hours away from your biggest enemy every day): Lucy is messy, messy, messy, and easy. loving, while Josh seems to prefer work to the cold corporate look. Their battles are legendary at B&G, and while the enmity between many members of staff is fractured, Lucy and Josh have taken the cake. (One major reason this is all so sexy and funny on screen: Hale and Stowell are not only well-cast, but they have realistic chemistry.)

You know they will love each other. They know it in a way, too, as Hale begins the film with a second-guess voiceover, oh yeah, the weird ways that hating someone can make them feel loved. . Mostly, it’s fixed, and boy, are these two fixed together. Lucy knows exactly what Josh’s weekly shirt rotation order is, while he calls her “Shortcake” as a nod to her roots in strawberry farming (which goes with it). But when the duo pits themselves against each other for a brilliant new job at B&G, everything changes. Suddenly, their everyday games – the obnoxious game, the staring game, the mimicking game – had a different cast.

Like many rom-coms, “The Hate Game” is hugely misleading. As Lucy’s hatred for Josh turns her into lust, she’s torn: Does Josh really love her, or is this just another game, aimed at disposing of her as she is? Need to be in the best shape? And, wait, it’s she really into Josh, not just an intriguing combination of his good looks and their chemistry? (Again, you know the answer, but watching it play out between these two seducers is exciting; like the book, their relationship also carries real emotional weight.) Every step they got closer – many of them overcame a series of romantic comedies, from a sudden illness to a trip to, oh no!, with only a single room they had to share share – definitely take a step back.

Thorne is part of a steady wave of rising romance novels, offering both quality storytelling and good quality, old-fashioned to boot, and the heartbreaking chemistry between Hale and Stowell going one way. Long way to R rating “Hate game” capitalizes on its lewd roots without going full NC-17. Screenwriter Christina Mengert has preserved many of Thorne’s most beloved scenes of the steamy genre, and while the film isn’t quite as hot and uncomfortable as the book, it’s pretty close.

“Hate Game”

The entertainment world can be a bit odd when it comes to bringing SEX back into movies (especially romantic comedies, which have long since seemed to have forgotten the romantic element), but “The Hating Game” doesn’t blink. (The scene where Lucy tore through Josh’s towel after a shower to see what he’s working with is a great example: it’s funny, sexy, and a perfect fit for their respective characters.) , but there’s something incredibly refreshing about watching people fall in love and express it through actual affection. Kisses? With tongue?! What a world!

Other elements don’t work out as well, such as a fussy attempt at wacky humor (Lucy and Josh spend a few minutes fidgeting with an extremely charismatic motel worker who feels out of place) and a plot side story about Josh’s terrifying boss (a nearly unrecognizable Corbin Bernsen). But when Hutchings moved closer to Lucy and Josh, everything was back to the way it was. Thorne’s novel may be best known for its hot and nasty sex scenes, but she also builds a romance with real stakes and great emotion, and Hutchings and His stars have easily translated that to the big screen. Why can’t every rom-com make it look so easy?

Class B-

A release by Vertical Entertainment, “The Hating Game” will hit theaters and on VOD on Friday, December 10.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2021/12/the-hating-game-review-lucy-hale-austin-stowell-1234684277/ The Hating Game Review: Lucy Hale & Austin Stowell in Sexy Rom-Com

Aila Slisco

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