I Finally Watched Anyone But You, And I Think Other Rom Coms Need To Take Notes From Sydney Sweeney’s Flick

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Written By Maya Cantina

Warning: SPOILERS for Anyone But You are ahead!

After Hollywood had all but written off box office romantic comedies, Anyone But You broke through the noise and became a surprising success. The Rated R rom-com was such a hit for Sony Pictures that it even got an extended theatrical run in celebration of Valentine’s Day. While I didn’t get a chance to see it on the big screen, I did just shell out the $6 to rent it on VOD, and it was totally worth it. So, worth it, in fact, that I think every romantic comedy that comes out from here on out should look to Anyone But You for inspiration. 

Sydney Sweeney’s Bea is a Boston University law student who is unsatisfied with the way her life is going and instantly hits it off with Ben (Glen Powell) when he helps her gain access to a coffee shop’s restroom. The two spend an incredible night together, but a miscommunication the following day turns their love into hatred. Unfortunately, their plans to never see each other again are thwarted when Bea’s sister gets engaged to Ben’s best friend. Now in Australia for the wedding, the pair decide to pretend to be in a relationship to appease Bea’s meddling family and hopefully make Ben’s ex-girlfriend jealous. 

Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Anyone But You is a masterclass in what a modern romantic comedy should be. All future rom-coms should take notes from the Sweeney and Powell-led flick and here’s why:

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Anyone But You Shines Because The Cast Has Amazing Chemistry

,While there’s no doubt that Anyone But You is a well-written romantic comedy, the movie really shines because of the onscreen chemistry between Sweeney and Powell. It’s not surprising given the Euphoria star has been getting people to fall in love with her for years now, while Powell proved his leading man charm in the Netflix original Set It Up

Finding the perfect cast can make or break a movie, and it’s even more detrimental when it comes to romantic comedies. But casting the minor roles is just as important which is where the R-rated rom-com really succeeds. GaTa nails the role of the best friend and brother to the bride, bringing both comedy and reality checks for Ben. Alexandra Shipp and Hadley Robinson’s love is believable and pure, and all four parental figures are a hilarious combination of overbearing and supportive. 

I Finally Watched Anyone But You, And I Think Other Rom Coms Need To Take Notes From Sydney Sweeney’s Flick

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

It’s A Movie With A Perfect Meet Cute 

All romantic comedies need a meet-cute to set things in motion, and Anyone But You is no different. The thing that makes this meet cute so special is that it happens almost immediately after hitting play. Pair that with the fact that Bea and Ben’s introduction is completely grounded in reality and could totally happen to anyone in real life, and you have a perfect meet cute. Future rom-coms, take note: we don’t need anything over-the-top, at least not during the initial meeting. 

I Finally Watched Anyone But You, And I Think Other Rom Coms Need To Take Notes From Sydney Sweeney’s Flick

(Image credit: Brook Rushton / Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)

It’s A Shakespeare Adaptation That Pays Homage But Keeps Things Modern 

Modern Shakespeare adaptations are not uncommon in the rom-com genre, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen one do justice to the original source material. Not only does Anyone But You stick fairly close to the comedic play, it also pays homage to the words of the legendary playwright by including lines directly from it in the form of dialogue and set dressings.

I love a good Easter Egg in a movie, and the Shakespeare nods were the perfect ones to keep me on my toes and entertained. This was especially the case when the lines were delivered by the cast followed by the comedic bit of them saying “I just made that up.” 

It’s not enough to just say something is inspired by something these days. The creators really need to understand and have a love for the original material if they’re going to adapt it for modern audiences which is exactly what happened in Anyone But You. All future Shakespeare adaptations should take note. 

I Finally Watched Anyone But You, And I Think Other Rom Coms Need To Take Notes From Sydney Sweeney’s Flick

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Anyone But You Puts The Comedy Back Into Rom-Coms 

The romantic comedy genre can be a hard one to nail. Some movies put too much emphasis on romance, turning the entire thing into a drama, while others lose sight of the love story altogether and instead tell a hilarious story. Fortunately, Anyone But You found the balance between both, effectively creating the perfect rom-com blend. 

When it comes to the Sweeney and Powell-led flick, the comedy comes in two forms: verbal and physical. It succeeds at both. The pair deliver their lines with wit, charm and insane amounts of comedic timing feeding off of each other’s energy. I found myself having to go back and rewatch portions of scenes that I had missed because I was laughing too hard at their wisecracks at each other.  

The physical comedy was just as hilarious and entertaining. Both leads nailed their own bits like when Bea got her shirt caught in Ben’s plane seat while trying to steal his complimentary chocolate chip cookie. Then there’s when Ben stripped in a matter of seconds on the side of the mountain because Bea found a spider in his shorts.

I Finally Watched Anyone But You, And I Think Other Rom Coms Need To Take Notes From Sydney Sweeney’s Flick

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

There’s An Epic Romantic Grand Gesture At The End

No romantic comedy makes the best list without an epic romantic grand gesture, and Anyone But You really knocked it out of the park. Sure, Sam and Annie meeting at the Empire State Building in Sleepless in Seattle (which I recently watched for the first time) is cute, or Harry’s love confession to Sally in When Harry Met Sally, but neither is quite as dramatic as the stunt Ben pulls here. 

Not only is it over-the-top, with Ben literally throwing himself off a cliff into the water just to get a helicopter ride to Bea, but it also proves that Ben actually listened to everything Bea told him. If he hadn’t, he would never have known where to find her after she left the wedding. Future rom-coms should definitely take note — it’s not just the gesture that matters, it’s that it’s also what the other lead wants. 

I Finally Watched Anyone But You, And I Think Other Rom Coms Need To Take Notes From Sydney Sweeney’s Flick

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Anyone But You Is Not Afraid To Be Cringe 

Anyone But You is a perfect rom-com because of all the reasons above, but most importantly because it’s not afraid to be a little cringe. Both Sweeney and Powell play up the cringy moments, sometimes even pointing them out, like when they recreate the Titanic scene during the rehearsal dinner. Throw in the hilarious “Unwritten” sing-alongs, and you’ve got a movie that’s not afraid to make fun of itself and the genre it’s mastered. 

Here’s hoping Anyone But You inspires more romantic comedies in the 2024 movie release schedule and beyond. At the very least, you can catch the R-rated flick on any VOD site like Apple TV and Prime Video. Or keep checking our New and Recent Movies Streaming feature for news on when you can stream the movie on a specific platform. 

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