Anyone But You (Theatrical)

After an amazing first date, Bea and Ben's fiery attraction turns ice-cold--until they find themselves unexpectedly reunited at a destination wedding in Australia. So they do what any two mature adults would do: pretend to be a couple.

January 4, 2024 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Acting as something of a throwback to romantic comedies of yesteryear, Anyone but You looks to fill that void. Let’s face it, we don’t get as many of these films as we once did. Should we get more of them I suppose depends on how well they do. As of this writing, the film is a modest success, but what’s important to remember is that the budget is very reasonable. Don’t expect me to delve into economics here, but films need to be profitable. Ultimately, I can say that I was never bored during the film, but it sticks with its formulaic plotting much of the time as well as being just too darn silly to really resonate. I will touch on this more in a bit, but at least the two leads are likeable enough, and Sydney Sweeney is so easy on the eyes.

Our two leads meet at the start of the film at a coffee shop. Bea (Sweeney) wants to use the restroom but is told that she must be a customer. Enter: Ben (Glenn Powell) who comes to her aide and pretends to be with her. This encounter leads to the couple now going back at Ben’s house for more than simply talking and leads to them sleeping on the couch. What happens is the next day is Bea is attempting to bail, but she overhears a conversation Ben is having with a friend in which he downplays the night before. Some time passes, but the two of them reconnect (though not by choice) when there is a wedding in Australia. The wedding is Ben’s sister, Claudia (Alexandra Shipp) who is engaged to Halle (Hadley Robinson). Since Bea is a friend, this puts the two of them together during the wedding despite the two of them having an ill will towards each other. If this setup sounds a bit too contrived, that’s because it is, but the film doesn’t stop there. Ben’s Ex, Margaret (Charlee Fraser) also shows up as well as Bea’s Ex-Fiancé, Jonathan (Darren Barnet). This includes the typically awkward scenes of characters acting like buffoons when an explanation would be all it takes. It seems that the parents of our leads want them to rekindle with the former lovers. So, Bea concocts a scheme to pretend that she and Ben are a couple. This all leads to the inevitable conclusion that one can see coming a mile away.

If you’ve seen the ads for the film then you have an idea what you’re in for. There’s a scene where Bea asks ben to “Titanic” her, where she is standing on the edge of a boat, but of course nobody is looking, and of course Bea falls in the water. There’s also the scene where Ben has a spider in his buttocks, so he decides to strip off all his clothes and throw them off a cliff. I won’t even get into the early bathroom incident at the coffee shop. It’s writing like this that keeps the film at a low, sitcom level. The two leads try hard to sell this material, with Sweeney’s cleavage taking center stage in almost every scene. Believe me, I am not complaining, but her nasal voice did irritate me after a while. Glen Powell is less successful as he has a stiff demeanor through much of the film. I also didn’t care for how the film checks off a lot of boxes. It’s an unfortunate common trend with most modern films. I find it a bit off-putting as it takes me out of the film, and feels more forced than natural, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole today. Still, if one is willing to forgive and go along with things then I suppose there is mild enjoyment to be had.

The Bottom Line

While neither terrible nor great, Anyone but You attempts to resurrect the rom-com genre, but with mixed results. The two leads give it their all, but the premise is far too silly to become fully invested. I would advise a rental before anything else.