Anyone But You Review

Anyone But You
Anyone But You
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By the middle of Anyone But You, I had a feeling I had it all figured out. That’s a rom-com, right? It has got everything needed to make it work: back and forth, mischiefs or beach setting and naturally two hotties at its core. So that was good enough for me to forget about it as soon as I would have finished my popcorn then write this review! However, something miraculous happened in the movie; they won me over?

Anyone But You is not exactly cinema at its finest but neither is it wallowing in the depths somewhere. Instead, it exists within this interestingly tenuous space between them with breezy watchability propping it up and surprising sincerity taking hold. Glen Powell (an actor who seems to always operate on a 15 out of 10 on the charisma scale) plays Ben while Sydney Sweeney (who truly can cry with the best of them) stars as Beatrice, exes-sorta whose initial date ended tragically. Flash forward several years later when they both absurdly decide to fake being together during their loved ones’ wedding days where Bea is Halle’s sister (Hadley Robinson) and Ben grew up with Claudia (Alexandra Shipp).

The setup is chock-full of romcom clichés – some effective, others definitely not so much. There are many comedies, romantic or otherwise, that could be said to have silly premises but this one feels less like a storyline than a string of random tropes put together with no rhyme or reason. The level of seriousness in the confrontation between Bea and Ben does not correspond at all with how much each other actually despise themselves; moreover they just start dating for trivial reason. And even banter is mediocre enough so that the characters sometimes say gags in an awkward “I Am Telling A Joke” type way.
However, there are still some funny moments that stand out and make several bits – e.g. Ben applying unhinged anecdotes from his drug-fueled days at Goldman Sachs to present-day situations – play excellently.

There is no real chemistry between Powell and Sweeney; they don’t have it in them for smooth comedic exchanges. Yet, the comedy of the body is where Anyone But You sells its romcom part completely. For instance, there are the world’s most awkward PDA (performative displays of affection, get it?) or bright-eyed Australian wedding guest Beau (Joe Davidson) doing things that should be impossible by any human standards. It’s always fun when everybody can let loose just a little bit.

If you happen to be a literary nerd, then you will find even more stuff to love about it! This is a throwback comedy of errors complete with the bard’s quotes scattered throughout and phrases like “love me tonight” and “be married tomorrow”. As Claudia’s mom and dad Michelle Hurd and Bryan Brown acted as if they were Titania and Oberon themselves on stage. Halle, Claudia, and her brother Pete (GaTa) all try half-baked schemes to bring Ben closer to Bea. Including character names copied over from Much Ado About Nothing as well as other references to that play such as somewhere out there my 10th grade Literature teacher cheering I knew this was made.

These references and quotes are a little heavy-handed, and Anyone But You never quite lives up to what it’s attempting to do by including them. In general, though, it is a benign abbreviation that takes us back to the tradition of hilarious groups and the confusion that makes stories like this one fun in the beginning. In a way, Anyone But You could be considered as some kind of watered-down version of 10 Things I Hate About You – except for there being much more gravity than She’s The Man.

Anyone But You may not be a bold new take on traditional romcom formulas but it is charming, owed in large part to its unexpected commentary on familial, as well as romantic, love. Characters such as Dermot Mulroney et al make it so easy because this film makes it so deliberately. However enacted by Robinson and Shipp respectively appear with life-filled energy which makes them genuine loving couples rather than flat props for Ben and Bea’s romance whom we can easily buy into as almost-weds.

An idle camera pans over these people who just spend their time in Sydney Australia enjoying themselves at intervals. They lounge about talk; laugh because they simply enjoy each other’s company. One especially lovely scene shows Halle’s mother applying her daughter’s makeup while Claudia stands beside her own mother having her hair combed down before nervously heading off to get married. As more or less family snapshots those scenes do not further the story.

The technical aspects of anyone but you are underplayed yet particular hence making the set become much more significant. Sweeney has been dressed in light breathable materials by Amelia Gebler who designed costumes that would resonate with her ethereal performance in HBO’s Euphoria series. Sandra Nieuwenhuijsen was the art director who oversaw production design to create an island wedding setting that looks sophisticated instead of kitschy when the camera goes for wide shots only showing how much i wanted a drink at peace in the theater.

Anyone But You is a film about the people we love and the memories we make when we’re young. The older couple’s faces in which Ben Beatrice and company are reflected can be used to show how lively they are as parents who have since gone past romantic gestures. At the end, a montage of all cast members singing Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield to each other in one arrangement or another feels like an epiphany that reminds you one day you will look back and say “This is my baby”. It’s sappy certainly – although as a hopeless lover of love movies, this is what I live for.

Does Anyone But You sit alongside recent romcom greats like Palm Springs, Fire Island, or even Powell’s own Set It Up? Maybe not. However, it provides an unexpected reflection on life with our most beloved persons.


Anyone But You does not exactly have an innovative film approach, but it is a passionately sincere and easily seen movie. Their inherent charm notwithstanding, Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell initially fail to establish rapport in the first act but those instances when their comic chemistry jells provoke real laughter. The first half of the film unfortunately suffers from a cliched and unremarkable setup, nevertheless, its second and third acts are sweet and silly enough to be enjoyable even if generic romcoms are not your thing.

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