First time feature writer/director Bryan Poyser has offered up a tale of sibling rivalry that is so over the top, one can scarcely believe such characters exist in real life. His story revolves around Rudy who has just been dumped by his wife Diana and is living out of his car. He briefly works as a census taker and ends up trying to hose himself off at a car wash (taking his clothes off in the alleyway next to the place) as well as taking a shower in the home of an elderly woman who he's canvassing for the census.
When Rudy's brother, Paul, a successful young adult fantasy novelist, is in town and they plan to get together for dinner, Rudy goes back to Diana and begs her to go out to dinner, pretending that they're still together. Diana reluctantly agrees as a last time favor for her ex-husband but Paul senses something's wrong at the dinner. Later, Paul calls Rudy who claims he's at home with Diana but Paul has driven to Diana's home and can see her through the living room window, quite alone.
Rudy is the penultimate loser who's never finished his novel, 'Lovers of Hate' but expects Paul to once again mention him to his agent. Paul has been enabling Rudy for years and puts him up in a motel for a few days and returns to Utah, where he lives in a posh, expensive home, in a gated community. Rudy decides to pay a surprise visit to Paul and drives six hours and then sneaks into Paul's home.
The bulk of 'Lovers of Hate' takes place in Paul's house. Rudy is shocked to find Paul return to his home with Diana, who are now having a hot and steamy affair. However, Rudy finds he's unable to leave the home without setting off an alarm and he's stuck there and must endure seeing and hearing Paul and Diana make love. Rudy finds himself unable to flush the toilet (which would reveal that he's in the house), and Paul ends up blaming Diana for the 'misdeed'. After finding the same thing happening the next morning, Paul speaks with Rudy via cell phone, still unaware that he's in his home. Rudy tells him that he was in the house briefly and Paul fails to mention this to Diana. Later, Rudy unsuccessfully tries to erase the last four pages of Paul's new novel on his laptop. Rudy then successfully drives a wedge between Paul and Diana by leaving his picture on Paul's computer. When Diana sees this and realizes that Rudy has been watching them all this time and Paul knew that he was there and didn't tell her, she storms out, never to return to Paul.
One wonders why such a rich and successful novelist as Paul would go for the plain Diana. Given his social station, wouldn't he have many women at his beck and call? This is never explained during the film. As for Rudy and Paul, they are both such distasteful characters that there's no one to root for here. Rudy is vile due to his narcissism and gross sense of self-entitlement. Paul is not much better as he claims to love his brother but then seduces his brother's ex-wife.
Are we supposed to admire Rudy's resourcefulness in facilitating the comeuppance of his brother at the film's end? It's a really a pyrrhic victory for Rudy since he's no better off than when he made the trip to Paul's home. Perhaps the fact that he was able to get Diana to leave his brother will give him some satisfaction coupled with that wave of acknowledgment from Diana at the climax but there's still little hope that she will take up with him again.
Lovers of Hate is a one note concept that might have been better has an extended short. As a feature length film, the machinations of the principal characters go on far too long and we simply can't care for them since they have few redeeming qualities. The actors do a decent enough job but are boxed in by the laborious script. Lovers of Hate earns points for being quirky and offbeat and it's eminently watchable. Ultimately, however, it' not a film that will stick in your mind for long and I would be hard pressed to watch it again.
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