We're reprinting this review from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to coincide with the VOD release of Lovers of Hate today.
By: Erik Davis
Lovers of Hate is built around a gimmick that you either buy into or you don't. A colleague had suggested that the film feels like one Hollywood would buy just to remake it with more well known actors, because the premise is one that you'd so expect to find splattered across the next Will Ferrell movie. That's not to say the actors in this version are horrible at what they do; they're not. Nor is writer-director Brian Poyser (Dear Pillow), who, in a very emotional moment prior to the film's premiere, said that it was dedicated to his father who passed away one week after it was accepted to Sundance. Poyser definitely has an eye for the strange, uncomfortable comedy, and when things are strange and comfortable, Lovers of Hate really slips into the type of film you want to high five. However, its slower moments and refusal to fully commit to a particular tone drops it down a few notches, but not enough to skip it all together.
Rudy is a disheveled loser who's sleeping in his car and stalking his ex-wife hoping that maybe -- just maybe -- she'll forget, forgive and take one more shot at what once was a successful and meaningful relationship. Problem is, Rudy is a complete mess -- and part of this may have to do with the fact that his younger brother kinda-sorta stole his thunder by becoming filthy rich off the Harry Potter-like story Rudy used to entertain him with when he was a kid. Now, all grown up, Rudy's brother Paul is a hero novelist who has everything he could ever want, while Rudy is the exact opposite and a sorry excuse for a man. When Paul learns of Rudy's crumbling marriage and invites his brother's ex-wife Diana out to a fancy mountain cabin to "talk things over", the film's central storyline -- which involves one of the most awkward, uncomfortable love triangles I've ever seen -- soon kicks into high gear, and that's when Lovers of Hate turns into a film you either love or you hate.