Anyone But You Review
Anyone But You (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Will Gluck, written by Ilana Wolpert and Will Gluck and starring Sydney Sweeney, Glen Powell, Bryan Brown, Alexandra Shipp, Nat Buchanan, Josh Bonello, Gata, Hadley Robinson, Dermot Mulroney, Rachel Griffiths, Deborah Faye Lee and Charlee Fraser.
Anyone But You is a comedy that’s far from perfect but its stars are, nevertheless, perfectly matched. Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell create that rare physical and emotional on-screen chemistry that makes this new romantic comedy, which is directed by Will Gluck, a success. The stars have natural charisma that immediately draws the audience into their likable characters. Even when Powell’s character is supposed to be a schmuck, the audience can still care about him thanks to Powell’s on-the-nose characterization. Sweeney is a revelation, creating a sympathetic would-be lawyer who has a lot to learn about love and life.
The film opens with Bea (Sweeney) trying to use the bathroom at a coffee shop. She needs to buy something to do so, but in order to buy something, she has to get on a huge line. A friendly, handsome stranger at the front of the line, Ben (Powell), steps in pretending the two of them are in a relationship and pays for a drink for her. Bea finally gets to the bathroom and her pants get wet so she decides to do whatever she can to dry them using a hot air dryer. It’s here we know that we’re in for a screwball comedy. Gluck’s movie has all the right comic touches which makes the chemistry between its stars sizzling in a story line featured in none other than Australia.
Why does the action take us to Australia, you ask? Bea’s sister (the prolific Hadley Robinson) is marrying her best friend and lover, Claudia (a perfectly cast Alexandra Shipp). And, that’s all you need to take the story to another part of the globe for some downright hysterical scenes of comedy. The funniest sequence come when Bea and Ben, who supposedly can’t stand each other despite spending a magical night together in the film’s early scenes, pose at the edge of a ship like Jack and Rose from Titanic. “They’re going full Titanic,” another character states. Bea and Ben are trying to make others jealous, especially their would-be significant others, but when they fall into the water, hilarity ensues as well as some touching revelations about the nature of love and friendship.
Another moment of zaniness comes earlier when a creepy crawler gets on Ben while they’re out and about and he must undress pretty much all the way down to his birthday suit to ensure he has no more icky crawlers on him. This movie, though, is also pretty smart in-between its screwball scenes of romantic entanglements. There is commentary on the nature of romance and the unpredictable way our feelings can change over time. There is a lot of doubt in Bea’s life, for example, regarding her choice to be a lawyer and the movie convincingly makes the audience have faith that Bea is a strong, independent woman although she is also navigating uncertainty in her quest for happiness in life.
This movie’s supporting cast is all top-notch. From Dermot Mulroney and Rachel Griffiths as Bea’s parents to Gata as Pete, a funny friend and confidante in the family, there are plenty of moments where the supporting player shine as they try to play matchmaker to Bea and Ben. The picture also showcases the great Bryan Brown, from the movies F/X and Cocktail of the 1980’s, as Claudia’s dad and seeing Brown on-screen again is a sheer delight. Let’s not forget the energetic Charlee Fraser as Margaret, Ben’s ex, who Ben may still carry a torch for even though she’s seemingly with another man.
If you needed a reason to see this movie that extends beyond the talented cast, the end credits are played to Natasha Bedingfield’s song “Unwritten” which is so hilariously used, it could probably never be played in another movie again.
Let’s talk about Sweeney and Powell. These are two fairly new up-and-comers and they seal the deal to make Anyone But You work as a romantic comedy. To my knowledge, I haven’t seen any of Sweeney’s previous films where she played a leading role but was totally won over by her performance in this new picture. She has a strong presence on-screen that commands respect and attention at all times even when she’s being a goofball. Powell is the perfect match for her and their scenes together are absolutely romantic. Powell has the good looks for the role but also that incredible, self-aware personality as well.
Of course, there are problems with the comedy, itself, at times. Some jokes are zany merely for the sake of being goofy and a couple of the scenes feel overwritten while the attempts at having Bea try to get back together with an ex of her own feel forced and are not really convincing. However, if there were no doubts as to whether or not Bea and Ben will wind up together in the end, there’d be no reason to tell this story. The locations and cast as a whole make up for the film’s shortcomings.
Anyone But You is that perfect date movie that comes along only once every couple of years. This movie would have cleaned up at the box-office if it were released on Valentine’s Day. It probably will be the ticket of choice for the end of the year and the beginning of the new year coming up. You don’t have to spend a fortune to take someone out you want to fall in love with. All you need to do is to take that person to see this movie. It should work like a charm.
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