“Lovers of Hate” Director Betrays His Own Script

PopcornBiz's Scott Ross is reporting from the annual film festival in Sundance, Utah, where new independent movies are unveiled.

Writer-director Bryan Poyser has written a fantastic script for “Lovers of Hate.” Unfortunately, his skills behind the camera don’t match his skills behind a keyboard.

Rudy is a down-on-his-luck loser who has been kicked to the curb by his wife, Diana. He has no job and harbors mountains of resentment toward his younger brother, Paul, a wildly successful children’s author.

Nearly the entire film takes place in a house up in the mountains of Park City, Utah, where Paul has gone to finish his latest book. Having learned that his sister-in-law is newly single, he invites her for a weekend getaway behind Rudy’s back. Ignorant of the romance brewing between his brother and ex-wife, Rudy stops by for a surprise visit – at the same time that Paul is picking Diana up at the airport.

Imagine Rudy’s dismay when, some time after letting himself into the house, Paul and Diana stumble in, immediately shed one another’s clothes and get down to business – all while Rudy watches from behind the stairs. What follows is a weekend of cat-and-mouse that only Rudy knows is being played.

It’s a brilliant set-up, with comedic potential around every corner of every hallway of the six-bedroom manse. But Poyser the director can’t seem to hit the right tone --too often you find yourself thinking, “That should have been really funny.”

Chris Doubek, for whom Poyser wrote the part, is very good as the aggrieved loser Rudy. He plays the charming schlub just so – you can see why Diana fell for him. Yet, again and again, moments are played wrong and it’s pretty clearly not Doubek’s fault. Heather Kafka is good as well. What she’s done is atrocious, but you don’t hate her for it. Alex Karpovsky as Paul is a bit lacking. We never see anything about him that would explain Diana’s attraction to him. Part of the problem is that he is clearly the least sympathetic of the three, but the other part is that his delivery often feels stilted.

Poyser also edited this film and there are one or two scenes where he cheats himself out of a great laugh by holding the frame a beat too long. By the time you get the reaction shot, the mood is blown.

Hollywood has this annoying habit of remaking good movies, when really what they should be doing is remaking not-so-good movies. “Lovers of Hate” is the perfect example of sub-par that could easily be redone well.

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