Anyone But You

Anyone But You (dir. Will Gluck)

By: Adam Freed

Loosely based on the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, director Will Gluck (Easy A) calls back to a long lost romantically comedic formula in the surprisingly charming Anyone But You.  Capitalizing on the undeniable magnetism shared between Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, two of Hollywood’s most attractive stars, Gluck’s film carries an aura of immunity despite leaning into a few eye roll inducing moments.  The Anyone But You marketing materials are enough to convey that Powell and Sweeney are two of the easiest humans upon which to gaze, but posters cannot illuminate the palpable chemistry that the dual stars share.  Audiences who buy in to see Powell or Sweeney are in for an enjoyable callback to the days of the screwball comedy in which the stakes never feel elevated and plot based contrivances are easily dismissed.     

Just as natural attraction helps to sell Anyone But You, it surprisingly works against the production as well.  After a memorable coffee shop meet-cute, Ben and Bea share a night together.  On account of their individual baggage, this romantic seed is never allowed to germinate and its failure breeds contempt between the two.  Orbiting the same social and family circles, the would-be couple are never fully able to be rid of one another, and the bitterness that grows between them at what might have been, fosters an antagonistic partnership of sorts.  Therein lies the most glaring issue with Anyone But You. Watching the twin beauties hurl insults at one another feels like an impossibility.  Unlike Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan’s opposites attract formula perfected in When Harry Met Sally (1989), Powell and Sweeney are not opposites, they are peas in a genetically gifted pod.  As is the case, their mean spirited banter never lands harder than a phantom punch. 

Anyone But You is far more of an ensemble cast than trailers would suggest, which works much to the film’s benefit.  While not every cast member contributes in equal measure, there is a great deal to be gained by the addition of extended family and friends, some of whom work to hurl Ben and Bea together, and others to thwart their inevitable union.  The glaring truth hovering over Gluck’s rom com is the age disparity between the two leads.  Thankfully this is something that the film acknowledges and leans into with comedic self awareness rather than ignoring the decade gap between Powell and Sweeney.  This gap also sneaks its way into their individual performances as Powell presents as the more polished and charismatic presence of the two. Sydney Sweeney’s relative inexperience bubbles to the surface in more dramatic moments, but is muted by both her physical prowess and Powell’s charm.  Regardless of the multitude of reasons that audiences may pursue Anyone But You this holiday season, it is likely that they will walk away pleasantly entertained.

Target Score: 6.5/10 - There is no denying the gravitational energy shared between dually gorgeous performers Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell.   Feeling more like the screwball romantic comedies of the 90’s, Will Gluck’s Anyone But You is a delightfully imperfect excuse for romantic escapism this holiday season.