‘Anyone but You’ or –Anything but This?

Colin Edwards
3 min readFeb 17, 2024

I’m somewhat partial to a good rom-com so was quietly optimistic walking into the cinema to watch ‘Anyone but You’ (2023) last night, an optimism which only increased when I realised the film was a loose adaptation of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. This could be quite smart and clever.

Bea (Sydney Sweeney) and Ben (Glen Powell) meet-cute in a cafe and spend the night together, although after Bea sneaks off the following morning before Ben wakes but then overhears Ben dismissing the evening to his friend as a disaster Ben assumes Bea is heartless and selfish and Bea assumes Ben is a shallow “fuck-boy”.

Fortunately they can forget each other and move on with their lives, yet when it transpires that Bea’s sister, Halle, is getting married to Ben’s best friend’s sister, Claudia, meaning both Bea and Ben will have to attend the wedding both Bea and Ben will have to work hard not to let their loathing for each other ruin the big day.

This big day will take place at Claudia’s parent’s house, a beautiful building on one of Australia’s golden beaches where the blue sky meets an even bluer sea and… and…

FUCK ME! IT’S ONE OF THOSE! RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!!

When I say ‘Anyone but You’ is “one of those” I mean that it isn’t a technically rom-com but, instead, belongs to that insufferable and unbearable sub-genre of rom-coms I call the ‘rich-people-going-to-a-wedding-in-a-tropical-location’ movie, a category of movie I seem to have become unexpectedly, and unwillingly, something of an expert in after having sat through several of these in the past 12 months, including Jennifer Lopez in ‘Shotgun Wedding’ (2022) and the George Clooney/Julia Roberts abomination ‘Ticket to Paradise’ (2022)… TWICE!

And the ‘rich-people-going-to-a-wedding-in-a-tropical-location’ is easily the most distasteful and obnoxious sub-genre of all the various types of rom-com (the tropical wedding comedy is the to the rom-com what scat is to soft-core pornography) as all we’re doing is watching a bunch of wealthy, unbearable dickheads (did I tell you Ben works for Goldman Sachs… and he’s our hero?!) being paid a shit tonne of money to pretend to be wealthy, unbearable dickheads at a wedding on a beach.

The film’s biggest crime, outside of existing in the first place that is, is that it is painfully unfunny. The mix-up that causes Bea and Ben to fall out isn’t believable or robust enough to support an entire movie and the writers use this manufactured animosity not to provide the two leads with barbed zingers disguising mutual flirtation but to simply act as though they’re both a couple of assholes.

And talking of assholes, when I said this was a loose adaptation of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ I meant loose because I don’t remember the bit in Shakespeare where Benedick and Beatrice stick their fingers up each other’s rectums.

Yet my real resentment towards the movie is that I feel ambushed, that I thought I was watching a rom-com only for the film to suddenly go –BLAM! — tropical wedding movie! That means this is the fourth one of these fuckers I’ve sat through in the last twelve months and I’m not sure I can mentally survive another one.

‘Anyone but You’ is excruciating to the point that halfway though I started replaying scenes from ‘Ticket to Paradise’, a film I detest, in my head because it was more bearable than sitting through what I was seeing on screen and any movie that has me wishing I was watching George Clooney being bitten by a dolphin for a THIRD time is doing something seriously fucking wrong.

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Colin Edwards

Comedy writer, radio producer and director of large scale audio features.