Rating: 3 out of 5.

Two attractive people sit across from each other in an office, the man copying the young woman’s each move in a clear attempt to irritate her. There’s obviously a little bit of sexual tension in the air, even though they claim they ‘hate’ each other. Will they be able to put their professional rivalry aside and find love?

Directed by Peter Hutchings, 2021 movie ‘The Hating Game’ is based on a novel of the same name by Sally Thorne and is a standard but cute romantic comedy. Lucy Hale and Austin Stonewall play leads Lucy and Joshua respectively, co-workers at a publishing company vying for the same promotion. There’s a surface ‘opposites attract’ trope, Joshua is the organized cold-hearted, while Lucy is the messy sweet one. One of them has some serious issues, so the other is obviously portrayed as someone who can ‘fix’ their problems.

The story unfolds largely during the Holiday season, so the cinematography is colourful, festive, and pleasing to the eye. Lucy Hale and Austin Stonewall make an adorable onscreen pair, viewers could’ve used more romantic moments between the two, instead of the extended juvenile bickering sequences throughout the runtime. None of the other actors make an impression, because they are all half-baked characters reduced to forgettable accessories meant to just be around the leads.

The two twists in the story were very predictable, but since it’s not a thriller/mystery, there’s no point complaining about the threadbare plot. I did like how characters try to talk things out between them, even though the writer does resort to an exaggerated and staged ‘miscommunication’ trope for the climactic conflict.

Well, regardless, despite its minor flaws, ‘The Hating Game’ is a fun enough pick to watch if you are in mood for a silly sweet romantic flick.

It’s a 6/10 from me. Stream it on Prime Video.