They really did *that* in “Anyone But You”
Did everyone read those dating rumors of Sydney Sweeney and Gwen Powell? People were throwing around “homewrecker” left and right (but Powell has since gone on the record to say he and Sweeney intentionally leaned into the rumors for additional marketing on the film). I thought the whole thing was strange at first, but seeing their chemistry reveal itself on screen in Anyone But You made me a believer.
The film opens in a coffee shop, with Bea (Sweeney) asking the barista if she can use their bathroom facilities. Barista says: No, customers only. It’s obvious that Bea really needs to go, and Ben (Powell), who has been watching the painful exchange, shouts “Wife! Do you want your usual?” After they convince the woman behind the counter that they are indeed man and wife, the barista reluctantly hands Bea the keys to the bathroom.
The two then spend the rest of the day and evening together. They talk, occasionally offering a piece of personal information that catches them surprise. Ben never talks about his mother; Bea hasn’t told anyone she hates law school. When the sun rises, Bea sneaks away—afraid—and Ben feels instantly rejected. In order to save face, Ben tells his friend that the evening meant nothing to him; too bad Bea’s come back right at that moment and overhears it. Rejection circle complete.
Two years later, Bea’s sister is getting hitched to Ben's friend, and the two of them are made to play nice after almost ruining the pre-wedding festivities. The two protagonists decide to really play nice so that Bea can ward off her ex-fiancé and so that Ben will seem much more appealing to his “one that got away.”
Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way. The cast is made up of some great looking actors, and it’s just magnified by the fact that Anyone But You is set in Australia, which means there’s always someone half naked. Glen Powell keeps working out in the beach, one of the hilarious extras likes to publicly shower naked after the beach, and Sydney Sweeney is always wearing something that accentuates her curves just right.
The film’s overall humor is light, physical and feels organic—like a rom-com should feel. There’s also some pretty racist jokes, told with an air of ignorance (which makes it funny if you don’t think about it enough) care of the one and only Dermot Mulroney, who plays Sweeney’s father.
I’ve seen arguments that Anyone But You adds nothing to the table (which is true), and that this makes it a bad movie (not true). There isn’t much meat to the film, sure; girl and guy secretly like each other, but won’t admit to it, girl and guy “pretend” to be in a relationship, but share some real moments together. What happens then? Your guess is as a good as it gets.
But here’s the thing: romantic comedies should have romance and comedy; you aren’t supposed to cry because of them, and in that sense, Anyone But You is a pretty great watch. It’s funny but not rolling-on-the-floor funny. It’s nakakakilig but doesn’t punch and squeeze your heart. It’s light-hearted in all the best ways a rom-com should be.
Anyone But You opens in cinemas on January 17. So just do yourself the favor, watch the movie and give yourself a breather—it’s still early on in the year!
Art Alexandra Lara