Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
anyone but you
Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney star in ANYONE BUT YOU.

‘Anyone But You’: Hollywood’s newest rom-com for the ages

Will Gluck’s “Anyone But You” brings back the good old ‘90s, complete with impossible scenarios and hilarious one-liners.

This review contains spoilers for “Anyone But You.”

The newest romantic comedy to hit theaters, “Anyone But You,” is a quintessential rom-com with a few modern-day spins to fit the times. 

Loosely based on the Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing” and starring big names like Sydney Sweeney, Glen Powell, Dermot Mulroney and Rachel Griffiths, the film is an enemies-to-lovers story about two people who play along with their match-making family and friends for their own ulterior motives. 

We first see the main characters, Ben (Glen Powell), the spitting image of the playboy, and Bea (Sydney Sweeney), a student at a crossroads, having a meet-cute at a coffee shop before Ben chivalrously rescues her from an embarrassing situation. The two spend the rest of the day together, apparently having nothing else to do but go on a 24-hour date, ending with him making her a grilled cheese sandwich at his place. 

Come morning, Bea runs out of the frat-bro apartment, scared of her own emotions. Ben, of course, wakes up a little hurt that she ghosted him, and he immaturely lashes out by telling his best friend Pete (played by rapper GaTa) that she’s a disaster. In true rom-com fashion, Bea comes back just in time to hear this and leaves with more than a little hurt and anger herself. 

Fast forward a year, and Bea’s sister Halle and Ben’s friend Claudia are getting married at Claudia’s family beach house in sunny Sydney, Australia. Ben and Bea are still smarting over the one-night date and constantly take swipes at each other, resulting in them almost ruining wedding material with fireworks. But here comes the master plan — everyone else on the trip decides to match-make them in the hopes that they’ll at least burn off the hate, keeping the wedding going without any further mishaps. 

When both their exes show up, with Darren Barnett as Johnathan and Charlee Fraser as Margaret, Ben and Bea decide to begin Operation Fling — act like a fling for the wedding to make Johnathan realize it’s over and make Margaret jealous. 

The ensuing shenanigans are hilarious, and despite feeling rejected and bitter, the two eventually manage to broker a strenuous peace with each other, apologizing for their behavior and sharing secrets. With the glittering Sydney landscape in the background, complete with the beautiful Opera House (remember that, it’s important later on), it finally felt like they were moving past the bitterness and opening up to each other again. 

But in the rom-com world, happiness comes after the final conflict. Our characters finally have a one-night stand, but when Bea refers to her recent actions as a mistake, she sets off a chain reaction: Ben sneaks out this time, accidentally lets slip that Bea quit law school and almost causes a wedding disaster. 

But all’s well that ends well, as Bea and Ben finally get together in the most aesthetic locale in the city — you guessed it, the Opera House (told you that was going to be important!). Complete with a cliff dive and a rescue helicopter, the scene is classic cheesiness, though it still manages to make you sigh in longing at the end.

The movie is well-written, with beautiful locales, laugh-out-loud situations and steamy chemistry between the actors, so much so there were entire articles devoted to Powell and Sweeney. 

That’s not to say the movie was flawless. Although the film means to revive the rom-com era of movies like “The Proposal” and “Friends With Benefits,” sometimes it comes across as trying too hard. With the incredibly intrusive parents, impossible situations (looking at you, hike scene) and the constantly stoned best friend, the film feels a little contrived. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

In trying to bring the audience back to the early 2000s, it feels like the director went a little too far. One of the things people love about rom-coms is that they are relatable, and while the movie tries to connect to the audience, I was never really sold on the characters or the situations that came up. 

While Sweeney plays an unhappy law student on the verge of quitting, we never get to see what about it made her unhappy or what she would rather do, even as a hobby. Her indecision seems like it's supposed to mirror the way everybody feels about their career at some point, but it ends up feeling very one-dimensional. 

And what about Ben? All we know about him is that he’s a finance bro with some hints of personality but no real emotional depth. Why does he lash out the first chance something goes wrong? Why is he so obsessed with the ex who bailed and never looked back? 

While I’m happy the characters are reunited at the end, we never get to see why these two people are good for each other. In leaving these characters so unexplored, I think some of the magic was taken away. Nevertheless, the film did have me heaving with laughter the whole time, and for that, I give it 4/5 stars. 

"Anyone But You" is now playing in theaters, with all new bonus content for its Valentine Encore feature. 

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal