Tits rom-com set in a Manhattan publishing house is about as bland and easy to consume as a soft serve ice cream cone on a hot day. It’s basically a sticky extrusion of sugar, trans fats, and trapped air in cinematic form. Director Peter Hutchings has adapted a bestselling novel of the same name by Sally Thorne which pits perky executive assistant Lucy (Lucy Hale, from the Netflix series Riverdale and its spin-off Katy Keene) against rival square-jawed assistant Joshua (Austin Stowell, Hale’s co-star in Fantasy Island). It’s a waspy type of business that turns out to be more enjoyable than it first appears.
As the title suggests, the two begin their relationship seemingly hating each other. They clash over matters of taste, given that Lucy started at a high-end literary fiction publisher and Joshua worked for a more mainstream house that published trashy titles aimed at supermarkets. The merger of their two companies results in the two sharing an office – desks facing each other across a chasm of class, opposing values and a carpet – as they attend to the needs of co-CEOs Sakina Jaffrey and Corbin Bernsen.
As is the case with these things, the protagonists are powerless to resist their mutual attraction, and their relationship becomes more carnal in that classic device for inspiring love in such films: the confines of an elevator. Soon they have a low-key office romance, which involves attending a wedding together, spells where they break up and then get back together multiple times, and rival love in the form of nerdy graphic designer Damon Daunno. All the squares of the romcom bingo card are finally filled.
Still, it’s hard to deny that Hutton and Stowell have palpable chemistry. Now that Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey have moved on to building sportswear empires or flirting with careers in politics, a new generation of blandly handsome romcom actors has got to start cutting their teeth somewhere.