At the stroke of midnight on June 25, Yellowknife moviegoers got the chance to witness a private screening of Love/Hate, an independent bromantic/anti-romantic comedy about the lives of three house-sitters and their love lives.
Throughout, Love/Hate is little action and all dialogue. The opening scene alone consists of three guys sitting on a couch. The only things at risk are their love lives and their careers (not a big feat). Meanwhile, Yellowknife-born director Andrew Silke’s approach seems as laid back as the characters. But he uses the low-key style to let the actors work their magic with the hilarious dialogue written by the film’s stars, Cooper Bibaud and Danny McDougall.
Before the movie, there’s also a short film show what seems to be the ending of an RPG game (judging by the 18-bit graphics) Super Nintendo. In a matter of two minutes, Terry the knight begins to lose points with the princess: 30 points for choosing Close Encounters of the Third Kind as the date movie instead of the Notebook (always go for the Notebook. ALWAYS.) The scene would seem to have nothing to do with the rest of the movie. But it serves as the appetizer for the main course.
Love/Hate opens with our housesitters Johnny (McDougall), Lauren (Bibaud) and wannabe writer Ray (Chris Wilcox). It offers plenty of opportunities for funny scenes of guys just being guys. Whether they’re playing pong or doing celebrity impressions, they deliver pop culture lines with relish. The most memorable gag is their attempt to find a replacement tricycle after Ray destroys a clients’ previous one.
Their relationships are not going so well. Johnny and Vanessa (Steph Rogers) have just broken up after one really bad day. Not only does he get her fired, but he accidently makes vulgar comments to Vanessa’s father (“Your breath sounds like a rapist”) thinking he’s his pot dealer. Despite it being his fault, Johnny resents Vanessa. He spends most of the scenes making vicious comments to her. When she asks him where her dress is, he responds with “Your mom came over- she ware it out after I wore her out.” What did she ever see in him? Then again, people often behave in unpleasant ways after a breakup.
Lauren is starry eyed over his new perky girlfriend, Clair (Michelle Molineux). It’s easy to imagine Clair finding his awkwardness cute. They have chemistry in their scenes together, including one where Lauren questions Claire’s Disneyesque belief in soul mates; “if I’m your sould mate, then dating other (men) will be a disappointment.” Lauren attempts to scare Claire throughout the film. Hard to do with a girl who finds The Sixth Sense funny.
And Ray’s long suffering girlfriend Monica (Jennifer Martin) is taking him to couple’s therapy (or, as he calls it, “Open house to bitch about women”). It seems that they are not meant for each other, especially after Ray checks out a girl right in front of Monica. Through their first exchange in therapy Wilcox and Martin reveal a hidden chemistry that holds them together. It’s bothersome that Ray’s never seen doing any actual writing. He doesn’t even look like the type who reads. But he gets the funniest lines, “Vic Mackey had to help me get laid,” “Look at me, I’m 24; no one expects anything from me.”
The film ends the same way as it begins, but on an ironic note. It can’t be given away, but let’s say the circle of life takes a sharp turn.
 RAY: It’s like the island of misfit toys
MONICA: And I thought we had problems.