If you, when sitting down to view Anyone But You, were also dreading another shaky Shakespere inspired rom-com, you might find yourself in for an unexpected surprise. Not exactly known for his romantic comedies, Will Gluck (director of Peter Rabbit) delivers a crowd-pleasing rom-com that harks back to the hey-day of the genre.
Starring the both very hot right now Sydney Sweeney (best known for Euphoria) and Glen Powell (Top Gun), Anyone But You follows a complex relationship that begins in a small coffee shop in the US, but ends on the sun-soaked beaches of Sydney. While it might be hard to find common ground with most of the main characters, as they are a little too tall, tanned and talented to be considered relatable, the cast is wonderfully diverse and showcases Australian actors new (Charlee Fraser) and experienced (Bryan Brown).
The plot begins with Sweeney (Bea) and Powell (Ben) having a classic meet-cute in a coffee shop, but their relationship doesn’t really ever get off the ground and their interactions quickly become hostile as their worlds become inextricably linked through mutual friends and lovers. This culminates in them both becoming parts of the same wedding party, resulting in the obvious question – will they be able to overcome their ‘hatred’ and work together, or will their constant quarrelling de-rail their loved ones’ big day?
At times the film’s glossiness, mega-mansion settings and picture perfect performances can leave a fake bubblegum-esque taste in your mouth, which is one of the main criticisms of rom-coms as a genre. It is partially saved by the way that Gluck re-creates many stereotypical Shakespearean devices and uses them skillfully to lead the viewer through the complex relationships in the wedding group. The unlikely alliances between characters set about to manipulate Ben and Bea, who in turn manipulate them right back. Gluck also leans heavily on the ‘overheard conversation’ favoured by Shakespeare, which works well… the first couple of times. After the 5th or so it does become a bit contrite.
Despite it lacking the grittiness and relatability that we as a society have come to accept as the mark of a ‘good’ movie, Anyone But You is an enjoyable romp through areas of Sydney that many of us will never be able to afford, and it gives us a glossy, yet messy, love story that we can digest in an hour. Perhaps Shakespeare himself would be proud of it’s mass appeal. You’ll have to see the film for yourself to see if it really is much ado about nothing! (5/10)