With Hollywood studios investing money in big-budgeted tentpole features or in smaller scale artistic films (ones that are worthy of Oscar / award nominations), the subgenre of romantic comedies is left somewhere in the middle of those two extreme juggernaut film genres. Naturally, romantic comedies movies, which are both a subgenre to both the romance and comedy movie genres, have been around for quite some time; featuring a motion picture with light-hearted, humorous, and dramatic stories that are usually centered around romantic nuances (i.e., such as “true love” and are able to tackle problematic obstacles (be it family, friends, or some unseen challenge). Additionally, like many films from other genres, romantic comedies can range from a wild array of styles; pulling from other movie genres in order to try to appeal to a “wider” audience. Some classic romantic comedy film endeavors include 1940’s The Philadelphia Story, 1953’s Roman Holiday, 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1987’s The Princess Bride, 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, 2007’s Waitress, 2017’s Big Sick, and 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, 2022’s Marry Me, and many others. Now, and director Will Gluck present the latest romantic comedy film with the release of Anyone But You. Does this newest rom-com project speak the subgenre it’s pulling from or is it too much of a “cookie cutter” production that lacks the charm and memorable status to even make a viewing forgetful?


After meeting each other during an unexpected bathroom emergency at a coffee shop, Ben (Glen Powell) and Bea (Sydney Sweeney) find an instant connection with one another, returning to Ben’s place for an intimacy. The next morning, Bea sneaks out early, but returns and overhears Ben’s crude remarks about her, downplaying thee evening’s events to his longtime friend, Pete (GaTa). Months later, Pete’s sister, Claudia (Alexandria Shipp), is engaged to Halle (Hadley Robinson), who turns out to be Bea’s sibling, creating an awkward reunion for the two former lovers. This reconnection only grows when a destination wedding in Australia, forcing Ben and Bea to “play nice” for parents and friends who are attending. However, the week gets complicated by the sudden arrival of Ben’s ex, Maragret (Charlee Fraser), and Bea’s ex-fiancé, Jonathan (Darren Barnet), while the rest of thee gang is rooting for the two of them to rekindle their romance once again. Electing to play up romantic feelings for everyone and to try and get through the celebration without rancor, Ben and Bea find the time eto learn more about each other, complicating their plans to figure out what went wrong and possible find each other again.


I know, I know…. if this opening paragraph sounds familiar it’s because I took it from my opening paragraph for my reviews for Crazy Rich Asians, Isn’t it Romantic, and Marry Me. Not because I’m lazy or anything like that, but because it served its purpose of getting my point across the right way in speaking my thoughts on romantic comedies. As does this paragraph of what you are about to read. So…. (without further ado) …. I’ve stated before on my blog that some of my favorite movie genres are action, fantasy, and animated. I do like other films genres out there, but those particular ones are my personal favorite. That being said, I do like watching some of the “romantic comedy” movies. To me (for the most part), I like watching them as they are usually (as stated above) “light-hearted”, which means that I really don’t have to pull that much effort into watching the movie (i.e., not stressed out / nail-biter “edge of your seat” endeavor or a perplexing “highbrow” thinking feature that will having me scratch my head). They usually play the same two or three type of scenarios for the story’s plot (i.e., two lovers presented with a challenge and test their love throughout the feature), but these mostly work for a cinematic endeavor, with several films trying to add other nuances and aspects to try to make-up for the familiar terrain. To me, I do watch these movies usually when I really don’t want to get fully “invested” in a movie or when I’m doing something “around the house” (cleaning up or doing work) as background noise). Of course, there are plenty of romantic comedies out there, but the ones that I usually watch are like Forgetting Sarah MarshallSweet Home AlabamaThis Means WarBridget Jones’s Diary, and The Princess Bride just to name a few. However, 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians was definitely one of my personal favorites of all time; acting almost like definitive version of what a romantic comedy should be (in every sense of the word). In the end, while this subgenre might be “dismissed” by some of those movie snobs out there, the romantic comedy genre is still a favorable / popular one that should not be overlooked.

This brings me back around to talking about Anyone But You, a 2023 romantic comedy film that speaks to this genre of filmmaking storytelling. To be quite honest, I really don’t remember hearing much about this movie back in 2023. Didn’t hear when it was announced, nor did I hear about it when the cast was select. It sort of just ‘sprung up” on me. I think I first heard about the movie when I saw the film’s movie trailer for it a few months back and from the previews alone….it looked pretty decent. Of course, I immediately picked up on the romantic comedy angle that the movie was mostly going to be, but it did look to be somewhat amusing to watch. I did not recognize the girl in it (found out later that it was Syndey Sweeney), but I recognized Glen Powell, who I had recently seen in Devotion and Top Gun: Maverick. After that, I really didn’t hear much else from the project until December 2023 when the marketing team for the feature began to ramp up. I saw a few posters and TV spots as well as several cast interviews, which did catch my interest some more. And what did I think of it? Well, I actually liked it. Despite being predictable and a tad formulaic, Anyone But You still manages to find a pleasant rhythm within its story of a couple’s “tit-for-tat” relationship and all the quirks and complexities that come with it as well as a likeable (and playful) cast of characters. It’s definitely not the “quintessential” rom com of the year nor of the past decade, but still comes across solid viewing experience for those looking for narrative endeavors in this category for some entertaining distraction for a good two hours…..and that’s usually the key for these films.

Anyone But You is directed Will Gluck, whose previous directorial works include such recent films like Annie, Peter Rabbit, and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. Given his more recent endeavors, which are more kid / family friendly variety, Gluck does seem like a bit of an odd choice, but the director has tackled several other movies of this genre in his earlier part of his career, including Friends with Benefits and Easy A. Thus, with that familiarity, Gluck seems like a reasonable choice, approaching the material with the sense of not really “breaking the mold” of what viewers are accustomed to a romantic comedy movie. This can be seeing as a “double edge sword” aspect (more on that below), but that’s usually the case with rom com feature films. It’s not about shaking up the proven formula too much, but just merely tweaking it here and there, which is usually the case when it comes to these types of pictures. Gluck seems to know that and reinforces those particular aspects in way that’s quite familiar, yet speaks to some of the narrative elements that the film wants to tell. Of course, utilizing a wedding scenario for the primary set piece for the film is quite the commonplace narrative background for a rom com story, but as I’ve previously stated that’s usually the case for these endeavors. Thus, Gluck gives the movie the classic touch, but does let the cast do most of the so-called “heavy lifting” with their screen presence and overall theatrical charisma. Perhaps this is where the film does shine a bit more from the standard fanfare of a romantic comedy film as Gluck lets the talent come through in their performances as the script (more on that below) does certainly “plays the hits” of the subgenre. Thus, the movie does have the touches and flourishes of romance and tenderness of the heart, with young good-looking people try to figure out about their love lives as well figuring out more about themselves. It’s classic tropes for a rom com, but, in Anyone But You,…..it does certainly work effectively.

Like similar movies in this category, Anyone But You’s comedy is fun with its levity moments to help break up some of the more thematically romance nuances in the plot. Yes, romantic comedy’s humorous parts can sometimes be a bit “on the nose”, but Gluck and his team finds good balance of adult and teenage humor-based jokes / gags that have been proven to work. Not every joke sticks its landing, but there are more that actually “stick their landing” than most movies, which is a good thing. I did find myself laugh a lot in the film as the various comedy antics were fun and didn’t come across as out of place for this production. Naturally, the “back-and-forth” banter and taking jabs at one another from Ben and Bea have some of the most engaging and memorable comedic lines that are both fun and snarky, yet still genuinely to former lovers forced to endure each other’s company during a wedding celebration for several days. Plus, seeing those two characters feign a “romantic connection” with their goofy quips to each other was quite amusing. Plus, a lot of the other characters, while cliched and cheesy at times, perfectly match that same type of energy for the film’s humor to effectively work.

Like with a lot of rom com endeavors, Anyone But You is super fun and lighthearted to watch from start to finish, which (again) is usually the case with movies of this caliber. Yes, there is drama and some raunchy humor to be had, but it is all presented and wrapped together under the guise of playful and easygoing narrative that knows how to please its target audience. Gluck knows this and keeps the feature on even-keel balance, with the comedy and drama never really overtaking one another. In addition, Gluck does make the movie move a good and steady pace and doesn’t get too distracted with superfluous side stories or stuff that doesn’t make sense (i.e. something just for the sake of having it). He definitely has a firm hand at the wheel and clearly knows of what he wants to showcase with this movie, which is kind of a good thing, as it shows that Gluck has a clear vision for the feature…and its story / characters. Overall, I felt Cluck did a good job in making Anyone But You feel familiar and have a cute (and sometimes humorous) tale of two “frosty” individuals and how they find love again during a wedding destination celebration. It’s not the most original tale, but the movie still has its moments where Gluck does make the characters / scenarios shine to help elevate some of the commonplace tropes and trappings found within this subgenre.

For its presentation, Anyone But You definitely meets the “industry standard” for the romantic comedy endeavor of recent relatable hits out there. That’s not saying that the movie’s background setting or production quality is not noteworthy as the film does offer some picturesque imagery from quick opening salvo scene of city life (introducing Ben and Bea) to the more primary setting of Australia, which is quite beautiful from the many locations that is use for the film’s landscape placement. Of course, seeing stuff like Sydney Harbor (and nearby vistas and scenery) was quite unique and gave the film a different variety rather the standard “big city” playground that so many rom com’s use for the primary setting background. Thus, the film’s key “behind the scenes” players, including Sooyeon Lim and Sandra Nieuwenhuijsen (art direction), Jennifer Lamphee (hair & make-up designer), and Amelia Gebler (costume design), should be praised for their efforts on this project. In addition, the cinematography work by Danny Ruhlmann, while may not win any type of awards or anything like that, is still compelling in a few key areas to help elevate some sequences…. cinematically. Lastly, while the film’s score, which was composed by Este Haim and Christopher Stracey, is solid throughout that all the right melodic notes and flourishes from a romantic comedy project, the movie does feature a good and lyrical soundtrack of songs that are featured throughout the movie, which (again) speaks to the mantra of a classic rom com that has a pop song rolodex playlist to help transition sequences every now and again. This includes a humorous take on Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten”. I won’t spoil it, but I find this portion of the film funny.

Unfortunately, Anyone But You does fall prey to some criticism towards its undertaking and overall execution, with most being part of the whole rom-com genetic make-up. What do I mean? Well, as I mentioned, the movie itself is a romantic comedy through and through, which means that the film is quite predictable from beginning to end. To be fair, movies found in this category are quite hard to “break the mold” and rarely deviate from the well-trodden path that the subgenre has traversed down in a multitude of project endeavors on both the big and small screen. So, I usually never come down “too hard” when reviewing movies of the caliber. That being said, the film is a rom com, so you definitely know where everything is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it will happen. There are one or two new wrinkles added into the mix, but the bulk of the feature’s narrative is steeped in that familiar territory and ends up being both predictable and formulaic. Again, that’s usually the genetic make-up of these movies as the film’s script, which was penned by Cluck as well as Ilana Wolpert, doesn’t really challenge the “status quo” of the premise and never goes outside the lines of the standard rom com parameters. Plot and story beats have been played out many times before, while the film’s characters are, more or less, cookie cutter from the genre itself. If the movie’s script took a few more liberties and added a few more twists / surprises, I think that film would’ve been that much better. However, as it stands, Anyone But You is a straightforward romantic comedy that has all the continuity trimmings of being formulaic to the touch, which can be seeing as both good and bad.

Coinciding with that, I felt that the movie could’ve been longer and could’ve extremely benefited with a bit more “oomph” in a few key areas. What do I mean? Well, Anyone But You does have the potential to be something more, which is a good thing, but with the movie having a runtime 103 minutes (one hour and forty-three minutes), there’s a lot more what the script (and Gluck’s direction) could’ve taken the feature to expanded upon certain plot aspects and character development. This clearly could’ve been utilized in some of the side / supporting characters, who are “stock-like” for the most part (i.e. only surface level for the most part). Heck, even the movie could’ve been better with one or two comedic scenes to help propel some moments of levity in the second act. There’s just could’ve been a lot more to see and to do within the movie, which is why the potential that the project has is a bit disappointing.

What does help with those criticisms is found within the film’s cast as the selected actors and actresses bring enough energy and charisma with their screen presence to help motivate (and elevate) their written characters, who are, for the most part, cliched, but (again) familiar to the subgenre. It’s not for a lack of trying in a few characters as the script does try to do a few things different, but still feel a bit predictable….at the end of the day. Leading the charge in the movie are the film’s two leads of actress Sydney Sweeney and actor Glen Powell, who play the main characters of Bea and Ben. Sweeney, who is known for her roles in The White Lotus, Euphoria, and Everything Sucks!, is someone who I am not quite familiar with. I know that she has becoming more and more popular, which is probably why she won the part of Bea in this movie. For her part, I think that Sweeney did a pretty good job in the role, playing up Bea’s duality of having her guard up, yet also showcasing her youthful swooning vibe of finding love. Yes, it’s conventional at times, but Sweeny fits the bill for the classic character trope and handles her part quite well. There are backstory moments where her character is given depth and insight beyond what was presently (current) in the movie, which is always a good thing and shows that the character is not just a “hopeless” romantic. So, I felt that Sweeny was a good casting choice for the role of Bea in the film.

As for Powell, who is known for his roles in Hidden Figures, Devotion, and Top Gun: Maverick, I am quite familiar with as he’s an actor, who has starting to become more and more popular, which was mostly due to his role in the Top Gun sequel (he did a memorable role as Hangman). So, seeing him play a good looking leading man in a romantic comedy project seems right up his alley and I think that he did a great job. As Ben, Powell brings the right amount of cocky / arrogance bravado one would expect from a character like him and he’s all the better for it. Some of his best moments in the film are when he and Sweeney’s Bea are verbal insulting each other. He definitely is quick with his mouth and delivers some of the more memorable comedy quotes of the feature. There is also a softer side to Ben, with Powell showing the correct amount of vulnerability in his performance. Perhaps the only problem that I saw with the character is that there could’ve been a lot more done with him. Ben’s backstory is sort of “hinted at” a few times, but the script doesn’t delve into it, which is a bit of disappointment because he could’ve been a bit more well-rounded. Still, regardless of that, Powell is quite solid in the role of Ben and does make for a good leading man in this romantic comedy film.

As for the on-screen chemistry between Sweeney and Powell…..I liked it. I wouldn’t say that it is “electrifying” or “magnetic”, but I definitely can see the two of them together as their characters respectfully. Their good-looking, pretty, and handsome, which definitely fits the bill for a rom com checklist staple, but I did find their back-and-forth banter to be the best. Some might disagree with me, but I did find the pair of them to be effective in their parts and in their on-screen chemistry with each other.

Behind Sweeney and Powell, the more notable characters would Claudia and Hallie, the two young people who are getting married and who know of Ben and Bea’s relationship, and who are played by actresses Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse and Love, Simon) and Hadley Robinson (Little Women and The Pale Blue Eyes) respectfully. These characters are merely designed for the film’s plot progression, using their matrimony ceremony to be the prime “window dressing” setting for the feature, so they don’t exactly get enough time to completely pan out correct. Still, Shipp and Robinson are good in their respective parts and have fun interacting with all of the various characters in the film. Behind them, rapper / actor GaTa (Dave and Self Reliance) gives a few moments in the spotlight as Pete, Ben’s close best friend and Claudia’s sister. He’s kind of amusing character, who has a spiritual persona that makes his character say some goofy lines as GaTa plays up those moments nicely. As expected, this character is the classic “best friend” archetype, which is commonplace in romantic comedies, so he gets predictable and probably could’ve been expanded upon a bit more. However, GaTa makes the character his own for moments of comedic levity.

Sadly, the characters of Jonathan, Bea’s ex-fiancé, Maragret, Ben’s ex-girlfriend, and Beau, Maragret’s new boyfriend, fall into the more cliché “ex-lover” archetype that is commonly found in rom com’s projects and are (unfortunately) a bit underdeveloped in the movie. As to be expected, the talents of actor Darren Barnet (Never Have I Ever and Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles), model / actress Charlee Fraser (Tom Ford: Boys & Girls and Tory Burch Holiday 2017: Coming Home), and actor Joe Davidson (Neighbours and Classroom) do good work in the movie in playing their parts the correct way, but the character themselves are quite “cookie cutter” and play up too much of the familiar tropes of a romantic comedy. Again, I knew that this was going to be the case, so it didn’t bother me as much. Still, I would’ve liked to seeing more done with these characters….a bit more finesse with the script to help “break the mold” of these players in the story.

The rest of the cast, including actress Michelle Hurd (Star Trek: Picard and The Glades) as  Pete / Claudia’s mother Carol, actor Bryan Brown (Cocktail and Two Hands) as Pete / Claudia’s father Roger, actress Rachel Griffiths (Saving Mr. Banks and Hacksaw Ridge) as Bea / Hallie’s mother Innie, actor Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding and Young Guns) as Bea / Hallie’s father Leo, fill out the remaining support characters in the film. This grouping does fall into the “formulaic” caricatures of romantic comedy character tropes (i.e. the parents), with the movie playing up those moments with familiar flavoring, but I do have to say that the acting talent behind them help make them more appealing and memorable within the scenes that they are in. So, with many of the side / supporting characters, it’s a “give and take” with them, yet I knew that this was going to be the case. Thus, it didn’t bother me as much.


After the one night fling turned sour, Ben and Bea are reunited and must get along with each other to support their family / friends’ wedding celebration in the movie Anyone But You. Director Will Gluck’s latest film takes the well-proven romantic comedy angle and presents it in a movie that’s just as fun and amusing as one would expect from this subgenre; a project that is filled with raunchy humor quips and sentimental heart. While the feature doesn’t stray away from tried-and-true formula of these movies (tropes and cliches aplenty), the movie still finds a nice rhythm within its undertaking and overall execution, with special interest in Gluck’s direction, the comedy aspects, the characters, the presentation (setting and music), and some of the film’s characters, with notable attention from Sweeney and Powell. Personally, I liked this movie. Yes, it does play it safe a bit too much, but that’s usually the “name of the game” when it comes to romantic comedy endeavors, so (as I said several times in my review) ….this aspect didn’t bother me as much. I would’ve liked to see a bit more creative ingenuity from the script and its characters (rather than the all-too familiar tropes), but, for what it’s worth, I found the movie to be a good and fun distraction, which is usually the case for these types of films. The story was cute, the humor was funny, and the cast had plenty of energy and charm. Thus, my recommendation for this movie would be a “recommended” one for those who love rom com pictures and maybe also a “rent it” for the more casual moviegoers out there. In the end, Anyone But You, while not the “be-all-to-end-all” of the romantic comedy, but it still has all the heart, humor, and drama that is customary for an easy-going and pleasant viewing experience. It’s lighthearted enough to be easily digest and, while not exactly the absolute best that the genre has to offer, is a safe “comfort food” rom com endeavor…. plain and simple.

3.8 Out of 5 (Recommended / Rent It)


Released On: December 22nd, 2023
Reviewed On: January 9th, 2024

Anyone But You  is 103 minutes long and is rated R for language throughout, sexual content, and brief graphic nudity

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