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Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney’s chemistry saves Anyone But You
Following his successful modernization of “The Scarlett Letter” with Easy A in 2010, director Will Gluck modernizes another literary classic in his latest film, Anyone but You. Gluck collaborates with Ilana Wolpert for a loose adaption of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado about Nothing.”
After a chance meeting at a coffee shop, Ben (Glen Powell) and Bea (Sydney Sweeney) have a fantastic first date. However, after a miscommunication on both sides, Bea and Ben’s initial attraction quickly turns sour. Six months later, they unexpectedly find themselves at a destination wedding in Australia where Ben’s childhood friend Claudia (Alexandra Shipp) is marrying Bea’s little sister Halle (Hadley Robinson).
Naturally, there’s still some animosity between Ben and Bea, which puts a damper on the wedding. Further complicating matters is Ben’s ex-girlfriend Margot (Charlee Fisher), whom he still pines for, and the unexpected arrival of Bea’s ex-fiancée Johnathan (Dareen Barnett), whom her parents (Dermot Mulroney and Rachel Griffiths) want her to reconcile with. When Ben and Bea realize that the wedding party is trying to force them into a relationship, they pretend to be the perfect couple to keep up appearances.
Anyone but You is the seventh adaptation of the Bard’s comedy, and in the age of social media and swipe dating, I am surprised the writers didn’t take the route. Instead, the film starts with your standard rom-com meet cute, which works on the strength of Powell and Sweeney. I have been a fan of Powell’s since Everybody Wants Some, and following his action-hero roles, it was refreshing to see him return to comedy. I do not watch Euphoria, so Sydney Sweeney came across as a fresh talent.
The natural chemistry between the two is evident, and watching them interact on screen, I can see how the rumors of them dating hold some merit. The rest of the cast does not stand out per se, but they all look good on screen and appear content playing the background to Sweeney and Powell. However, it was great to see Bryan Brown of F/X fame on screen again in a major studio picture.
While I have not seen the beloved 1993 version or Joss Wheldon’s B&W modernized remake of Much Ado About Nothing in years, from what I remember about Gluck’s 2023 version with its modern setting, it is mostly faithful to the original play. The essence of Shakespeare’s comedy was maintained, and the writers avoided potty humor despite the film’s R rating.
That said, rom-com die-hards will know precisely where the film is going, as the film does play the genre’s template to a T. Nevertheless, the lead’s charm is undeniable as a one-time view for a girl’s night or Netflix & Chill date I recommend the film.
Final Grade: B-
Anyone but You is in theaters now.
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