Anyone but You – Film Review

After a first date that goes very wrong, Ben and Bea are forced to reunite in picturesque Sydney for a wedding. What follows is a string of hilarious mishaps as the pair pretend, then don’t pretend, to fall in love. Directed by Will Gluck, Anyone but You stars Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney in the lead roles with support from Dermot Mulroney, and local stars Rachel Griffiths and Bryan Brown.

Loosely based on the Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Anyone but You follows law student Bea (Sweeney), and finance bro Ben (Powell), who have the ultimate meet-cute inside a local coffee shop. Immediately enamoured with each other, they spend all day and night in each other’s company, but when a misunderstanding turns the beginnings of love into pure hatred and Bea’s sister Halle begins dating Ben’s best friend Claudia, the pair are thrown back together for a destination wedding in Sydney, Australia. Dismayed to discover that they’re not only on the same flight but staying with the rest of the family at Claudia’s parent’s house, the pair’s animosity toward each other threatens to derail the wedding altogether.

Convinced that the pair need to work out their frustrations with sex, Claudia, her brother Pete, their parents, and Halle, all conspire to get them together. Wise to their scheming, Bea convinces Ben to pretend to date when her own parents surprise her with her ex-fiancé Jonathan.

In true romcom fashion, Bea and Ben’s initial attempts to fool the family are largely ignored and unsuccessful but in the process of pretending to be in love, the pair begin to open up and develop genuine feelings for each other. While Powell and Sweeney don’t have the kind of electric chemistry that Powell had in Set It Up with co-star Zooey Deutch, the emotion between them is believable enough. Sweeney, on a career high after appearing in TV series Euphoria, can sometimes seem a little dry on screen but shows some nuggets of comedic promise when partnered with Powell. His natural comedic abilities more than compensate for any dull moments and their combined attractiveness helps make any potential downsides forgettable.

What adds to the general hilarity of Anyone but You is a great supporting cast. Bea’s parents, played by Mulroney and Griffiths, are the classic overbearing type with a clear picture of how they think Bea’s life should look. Mulroney and Griffiths, reuniting for the first time since 1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding make a great on-screen couple and truly seem to relish bringing Bea’s very handsome ex-fiancé Jonathan, played by Darren Barnett, in to further complicate their daughter’s love life.

But one of the film’s best comedic duos comes in the form of Pete, played by actor and musician GaTa, and his stepdad Roger, played by Bryan Brown. The combination of an older Aussie and a young American yield some truly belly-shaking laughs as they are both somewhat dense but obviously caring people, watching them attempt to secretly convince Ben to date Bea is truly like watching the blind leading the blind.

Mixing heartfelt moments with ones of ridiculous physical comedy, Anyone but You is an ode to the romcom classics that have seemingly gone by the wayside. Gluck, who also co-wrote the script with Ilana Wolpert, hasn’t directed a romcom since 2011’s Friends with Benefits. However, the lengthy break has done nothing to sour his skills in the genre.

Wolpert, who worked on the script throughout the height of the Covid pandemic, brilliantly executed this adaptation of an enemies-to-lovers classic, taking inspiration from peers like Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You. And perhaps the best part of Anyone but You, besides all of the above, is that it doesn’t shy away from being naughty. One of the things that stood out most from Gluck’s last romcom was that it embraced nudity in moderation and went in generously with cursing, something that he ensured was brought to the table for Anyone but You.

By allowing the characters to swear, show some skin, and generally behave quite cheekily, Anyone but You dials up its laughs and delivers one of the best romantic comedies of recent years.

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