Keith’s Movie Korner: ‘Anyone But You’ should see this movie

By Keith Walther | Rose Law Group Reporter

Romantic comedy hits an all-new low with this unbearable display of acting, a formulaic and tired storyline, and clueless direction. “Anyone But You” is based loosely on Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” One can only hope the ghost of William Shakespeare is as annoyed as audiences with this pile of garbage and will haunt everyone involved in the making of the movie for the rest of their lives.

When Ben (Glen Powell) and Bea (Sydney Sweeney) first meet, their date couldn’t have gone any better. However, things take an immediate turn after a strangely contrived miscommunication that leaves the budding romance in shambles and the two heartthrobs going their separate ways. Little did they know they would be reunited months later in Sydney, Australia for the wedding of Bea’s sister Halle (Hadley Robinson) and Ben’s friend Claudia (Alexandra Shipp).

Still bitter towards each other over how things ended, Ben and Bea start drawing attention to themselves with their petty acts of retribution. To avoid ruining a beautiful wedding ceremony, they decide to temporarily bury the hatchet and pretend to be romantically involved, because why not, that makes sense (profusely rolling eyes). To make matters even more convoluted and silly, Bea’s parents Leo (Dermot Mulroney) and Innie (Rachel Griffiths) hatch a plan to invite Bea’s ex-boyfriend Jonathan (Darren Barnet) to rekindle that relationship. The resulting mess makes viewers care less about how it ends, just that it does end.

“Anyone But You” ranks up there as one of the worst acted films by an entire cast, led by Sydney Sweeney, whose performance was unwatchable. The only thing flatter than her dead, soulless eyes was her line delivery. Everything about her performance was so obviously phony that when she tried to be emotional or seductive in scenes, it was cringeworthy to the point the audience becomes embarrassed for her, eliminating all credibility in her character. It is easily the worst demonstration of acting by a film actress in 2023.

Sweeney’s co-star Glen Powell does not fair much better, failing to generate any kind of believable on-screen chemistry. In fact, he had more romantic chemistry with Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick” than he did with Sweeney. Powell tries unsuccessfully to incorporate some comedy as if his performance alone was not laughable enough. He oddly and randomly attempts to sing “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield time and time again in the film as a calming ritual for his character. By around the second time, audiences collectively begin looking at their watches, wondering how much more they would be forced to endure.

Unfortunately, there is not even a single redeemable performance from anyone else in the cast, including Dermot Mulroney, whose ridiculous antics were just plain sad. If there’s a positive to be had, it’s with Bryan Brown, whose mere appearance calls up fond memories of him teaching the ways of love and life through bartending to young Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise). That’s when viewers realize they would have been better off staying at home to watch “Cocktail.”

From telegraphed plot points to weak attempts at physical comedy and pratfalls to reproducing an iconic “Titanic” scene, director Will Gluck makes every attempt to manufacture entertainment but ends up with a sloppy, disconnected movie more suited to the Hallmark channel. The only reason it couldn’t air on Network TV is because of the shocking, tasteless nudity Gluck includes that really has no point being in the film other than an obvious attempt to be edgy. He does a very poor job of developing the side characters, rendering them and their ridiculous subplots useless. There is only one scene Gluck creates that is somewhat amusing, and that is the spider scene. Everything else is pure schlock.

If you’re looking for a quality romantic comedy, this isn’t it. Not even fabricated press can cover up the fact that this is an outrageously bad production. “Anyone But You” is perhaps the worst film from 2023, so don’t let your significant other drag you to this one.

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