Anyone But You offers up a charming reimaging of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing for a generation that struggles with emotional insecurity and trust! Anytime there’s a modern Shakespeare comedy remake I’m always fascinated to see how they’ll interpret the story and characters for the times. Admittedly, it’s my very favorite Shakespeare play and one that works so well due to the repartee between the leads and the universal feeling of love and feeling like you can’t just tell somehow how you feel about them. These themes are ever prevalent in society and I’m sure they’ll never quite go away, but it’s always enjoyable to see them taken seriously while still allowing it the room for dozens of laughs.
After a modern-day meet cute in the big city, Ben (Glen Powell) and Bea (Sydney Sweeney) spend a romantic night together creating a connection unlike anything they’ve felt before. When the next morning arrives, insecurity gets the best of both as they part ways and go about their lives until fate reunites them for a wedding party. During a destination wedding trip to Sydney, Australia Ben and Bea agree to play along with their friends and families attempts to get the two together in order to create a drama-free weekend. The only problem is that they can’t stand one another, at least on the surface…
Not to sound like a broken record this year, but it feels so wonderful to have studios pushing comedies and romantic comedies again because it’s such a pleasing genre for most audiences. In the depths of Oscar movie season and all the big dramatic films vying for awards contention, it’s a blessing to sit down and relax for a story that’s as timeless as it is funny and laugh for a couple hours. From sexual inuendo physical comedy to obscure and ridiculous verbal back and forths, Anyone But You manages to do enough differently in the genre to keep things new and mostly surprising. Despite knowing where Shakespeare’s play ends up, the film subverts plenty of plot expectations and has a fun time twisting Shakespeare’s scenario with plenty of modern influences.
Glen Powell continues a career of looking good and making all his jokes and sincerity seem effortless. He’s as leading man as Hollywood could hope to find right now and it feels like he’s been on the precipice of becoming a household name and a staple at the box office. His older Ben works perfectly against a younger Sweeney’s Bea in all the ways that life experience and emotional maturity can blend. The two have such a natural chemistry that feels believable and ridiculous, but it works perfectly for the story and the absurdity of the whole situation they’re in. There’s more awareness of the family’s puppeteering which leads them to “be persuasive” in their fake feelings for one another.
Anyone But You doesn’t totally reinvent the wheel for the romantic comedy, but it’s enjoyable and funny enough that it doesn’t necessarily have to. Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney are a total blast to watch together and it’s incredibly enjoyable to watch them try to play things off as if they don’t secretly long for one another. The supporting cast helps drum up some silly laughs and the Australian setting is easy on the eyes in every way that matters here. If you need a good laugh and a bit of hope that love is possible, Anyone But You is a great time at the theaters right now!
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