December 18, 2023

CINEMA | Faking A Rom-Com – Much Ado About 'Anyone But You'

"They're gonna ruin our wedding."
Sydney Sweeney Glen Powell Will Gluck | Anyone But You
Sony Pictures / SK Global Entertainment
Comedy director Will Gluck revives the modern studio romantic comedy for a sexy contemporary riff on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in the delightfully acted Anyone But You. Starring two extremely good-looking actors, Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, their quick meet-cute turns into an expected misunderstanding when they realize they're connected through friends and family before an Australian destination wedding full of all the typical but fun rom-com genre shenanigans.

Scripted by Ilana Wolpert and Gluck, they double down on the self-awareness of both romantic comedies and Shakespearean conventions, including all the overheard conversations, leaps of logic, and convoluted situations used to manipulate character pairings. Even Dermot Mulroney of My Best Friend's Wedding fame appears as Sweeney's father in a nod to his hall of fame place in the well-worn film genre.

Needless to say, Sweeney and Powell, as Bea and Ben, have spectacularly electric screwball chemistry as bickering friends of family who clearly have a strong but conflicted sexual attraction to one another. However, it's hard to believe the perfectly groomed and flawlessly-looking Sweeney is a hot mess for a single second, even in the middle of being rescued after falling overboard off a boat. Powell, however, has perfected his confident jerk with a heart of gold schtick sublimely.

Anyone But You makes for a mostly joyous experience by acknowledging its own unapologetic silliness and diving into its old-fashioned romance meets comedy antics while subverting its common premise right up front. How all the goofy side characters, particularly rapper GaTa, play the part of the peanut gallery commenting on the misunderstandings and mishaps of the plot only enhances the overall sense of 2000s-era bemusement if you buy into its comforting rom-com formula. It's all-in on its love/hate, will they/won't they relationship conflict.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Vox

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