Anyone But You review: The frothy rom-com you've been waiting for | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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Anyone But You review: Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney-starrer is the frothy rom-com you've been waiting for

ByDevansh Sharma
Jan 19, 2024 06:28 PM IST

Anyone But You review: Will Gluck's movie ticks all the boxes of a sweet romantic comedy, but it may not invade pop culture like his Friends With Benefits did.

Anyone But You review: Friends with Benefits director Will Gluck's new romantic comedy starts like a good ol' New York rom-com does: the two leads meeting in a cafe. However, here, their rendezvous is awkward. Bea (Sydney Sweeney) wants to go to the loo, but can't wait to stand in the long queue to buy something because “toilets are only for customers.” So Ben (Glen Powell) comes to her rescue, buying her a peppermint tea so she can rush to relieve herself.

Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney in Anyone But You
Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney in Anyone But You

(Also Read: Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell star in enemies-lovers rom-com Anyone But You | Watch Trailer)

What's different?

But as soon as Bea and Ben go on their first date and wake up in the morning, their commitment phobia kicks in. She slips out, and he bitches about her to a friend – which she happens to overhear. As destiny would have it, they reunite six months later because her sister is dating his friend. There's no love lost between them, as they are quick to level sarcastic barbs at each other. Then the script goes all Destination Wedding or Ticket To Paradise as the two who love to hate are stuck on an island for their loved ones' wedding.

It's refreshing to see that this wedding is a lesbian one, and there are no bells and whistles about it. In fact, it's the gay couple that's having a smooth ride while the cis couples seem to be all over the place. The same parents who support their younger daughter in this wedding aggressively pursue the elder one to reconsider her broken engagement. And what a lovely sight to see the two fathers of the brides share a joint on the wedding day.

But these markers aside, there's nothing much that suggests which year or time this rom-com belongs to. Except a flash of what looks like Facebook, there's no reference to social media, which has become every rom-com writer's love language today. Co-writers Will Gluck and Ilana Wolpert keep things casual, as they say. The relevance of the rom-com really stems from its central conflict of commitment phobia. It's not by any stretch a novel one for any rom-com, but it permeates every part of this movie, from the title to its choice of anthem.

The rest is still unwritten

Natasha Bedingfield's all-time smash hit Unwritten is used so smartly and effectively in the story that it lends an old-world charm to this modern rom-com. Firstly, the song released in 2004, 20 years ago when romantic comedies had just started evolving into ‘rom-coms.’ Secondly, it's invoked as the serenity song for Ben, who is scared of heights. So Bea uses it at a certain point when the two find themselves being ferried over the Sydney Opera House. Yes, that happens.

Before Natasha Bedingfield, James Cameron's 1997 cult romance Titanic also gets a tribute. But only because of how the film has invaded pop culture in the Instagram age. Ben and Bea pose as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet on the edge of a yacht in order to make their former lovers jealous. Little do they know that seconds later, they'd end up hanging on to the same floating piece in the middle of the ocean like Jack and Rose do. Yes, that happens too.

Needless to say anymore, Anyone But You is filled with oddball physical comedy like this, which even includes a koala. But when one sees the impossibly gorgeous leads in Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell go through the beats of everything batshit crazy, one hopes to have a romance that's as whimsical, messy, stupid, and pure. It's how Bea describes to Ben when she asks him to 'Titanic me': “It's lame, but that's what people in the first stage of love would do, because they're so comfortable with each other's lameness.”

In the age of social media validation, all one really needs is someone who can share one's crazy. Anyone But You may not influence pop culture like Will's 2011 directorial Friends With Benefits did even before the advent of social media, but it's truly a rom-com of today. In Natasha Bedingfield's words, it implores you to go all Titanic with someone and “Drench yourself in words unspoken, Live your life with arms wide open.”

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