I’ve been waiting a long time for a romcom like Anyone But You to hit the big screen once again. While I love a serious, more realistic love story, sometimes I enjoy a piece of good-old-fashioned junk food, and this fits the bill. With over-the-top pratfalls, misunderstandings and miscommunications, and lots of scenic shots of the Australian landscape, it’s a dumb romantic comedy that’s funny precisely because it knows how dumb it is, and just embraces that reality.

What’s the Gist?

The story centers around Bea (Sydney SweeneyEuphoria) and Ben (Glen PowellTop Gun: Maverick), who have a meet-cute at a coffee shop after Ben buys Bea some coffee so she can use the bathroom. A subsequent instant date that ends with the pair spending the night. Everything goes south the next morning, though, when Bea sneaks out of Ben’s apartment without a word.

source: Sony Pictures Releasing

Ben misinterprets, gets heartbroken, and calls her a b-word to his friend right as she’s about to come back and explain herself. Six months later, the pair wind up going to the destination wedding of a mutual friend named Claudia (Alexandra Shipp), and due to pressure from both of their families to settle down, pretend to be a couple in order to placate their shared social group. Lo and behold, the more these two pretend to be in love, the more their icy-cold relationship begins to turn red-hot.

What Works About It?

What makes this a fun romp is Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney‘s willingness to go full-tilt with their commitment to such a silly premise. Powell brings his usual charm and charisma to the role of Ben, conveying his bruised ego and smug aura towards Bea with total dedication. He takes Ben’s feelings totally seriously, which makes him a lot funnier as a result.

source: Sony Pictures Releasing

Sweeney very much matches Powell in this regard. The spark of Bea and Ben’s feud is utterly petty and melodramatic, and she plays a lover scorned like the two just broke up after dating for five years. For every sharp insult Ben throws at her, Bea gives it right back to him without hesitation. This light, witty banter owes credit not only to the script and performances, but also to the editing by Tia Nolan and Kim Boretz-Brehm. Both ladies show a keen sense of timing and rhythm, merging different takes and reactions, and just the right shot sizes to make the humor really pop.

I will also say that the cinematography by Danny Ruhlmann is rather sleek. The camera knows it has an absolutely stunning series of locales on its hand, and makes sure to give them full glamour. From sweeping wide shots of the forest, to long shots of Ben and Bea hanging over the ocean, Ruhlmann knows how to work with the location he’s given. He also knows how to capture the character’s internal journeys, fully conveying the bigness of their emotions.

What Doesn’t Work About It?

Despite the cast and crew’s fearless embrace of such a goofy idea, not all of the jokes land. There’s a cringeworthy running gag where Bea and Ben’s friends and families stage conversations specifically designed for them to be in earshot, their ultimate plan to stir up misunderstanding for both individuals and get them together. Neither the dialogue or the performers’ delivery ever got a laugh from me, because it was the one area where the film was trying to be funny, rather than taking the situations seriously and letting the comedy emerge organically.

source: Sony Pictures Releasing

I’ll also freely admit that aside from Bea and Ben, most of the characters don’t have very memorable personalities. Quite frankly, I can’t remember the name of a single supporting character, everyone left so little of an impression. If it weren’t for the spiteful chemistry of Powell and Sweeney, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the film nearly as much as I did.

Closing Thoughts

Anyone But You is a light, self-aware piece of entertainment that isn’t afraid of being silly. With glossy production values, two appealing lead performances, and a perfectly stupid idea at its core, it makes for a breezy 103 minutes. I knew what I wanted- and what to expect- got what I came for, and left satisfied. That’s a solid recommendation, if you ask me.

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