I suppose going into a movie like Anyone But You with no expectations helps it land in the “oh, it really wasn’t that bad” category. I’m the exact target demographic for this film; it’s a rom-com with the cheesiness of late 90s and early 2000s rom-coms, two of the hottest (white) actors on the scene today, and a ridiculously cringy plot that is predictable from start to finish. It’s entertaining; there’s some gorgeous scenery and some splendid outfits, and everyone looks stunning, but the most important thing is that the heart is believable amidst the glamour and snark of it all. No, this is not some Oscar-worthy film, nor is it the best romance you’ve ever seen, and no, it’s not even the best comedy you’ve ever seen, but it’s still infectiously amusing, so I’d say it’s worth a watch. Leaving the off-screen drama aside, I thought Glenn Powell and Sydney Sweeney definitely had palpable chemistry, and that’s what makes this movie “so bad, it’s good.” The film is loosely based on Much Ado About Nothing. However, I’d say to take the “loosely” part very seriously. Oh, and yes, you’ll catch me humming Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten for the next month, at least.
What Happens In The Film?
Bea’s a young and charming law student who happens to be in desperate need of the bathroom one day. She visits a cafe in the hope of some empathy, but they won’t let her in unless she’s a paying customer. The cherry on top is that the line of customers waiting to pay is ridiculously long, but to her surprise, a stranger offers to help by calling her his wife. Ben manages to secure the bathroom key for Bea by faking their marriage and buying her a peppermint tea. He even “steals” her coat while she finishes her business. The two of them already know that they’ve got the spark, and Ben decides to ask her out (obviously, there’s been 100 cringy slapstick moments in this one 10-minute bit). They spend the whole day together, Ben making Bea a grilled cheese sandwich (the amount of butter though, the man knows what’s good) in his “serial killer” (yeah, I would’ve thought the same) bachelor pad, and then spending the whole evening chit-chatting about nothing and falling asleep in each other’s arms. However, when Bea wakes up, she panics and scuttles out of there like there’s no tomorrow (girl, he would’ve killed you much earlier if he had to). The big problem is that she actually likes him, and after a quick call to her sister made her realize that she should go back, she does, but what does she see there? Ben was talking to his bestie, saying he couldn’t have her out of there fast enough. I’m tempted to call him “lunkhead basketball guy” like in High School Musical, but since he’s not a basketball player, we can switch it up to “lunkhead finance bro.”
Two years later, Bea’s sister Halle is marrying Ben’s best friend Claudia, meaning Bea and Ben have to be civil with each other for a perfect weekend Down Under. The destination wedding is all planned out by the perfectionist Claudia, and it’s in jeopardy, thanks to the two foes. After getting on the same flight and Bea having an awkward time trying to steal Ben’s business-class cookie (I know how strange this sounds, but it’s literally exactly what I’ve said!), they end up making it to Sydney. Now, since everyone knows that the two of them hate each other’s guts, they decide to set them up (yeah, Glen’s got two of these in the bag now) so they don’t ruin the wedding. Beautiful wedding logic, amirite?
Now Halle, Claudia, and Claudia’s family are in on the set-up plan; however, Bea’s parents have decided to make things much worse by inviting Bea’s ex, Jonathan, to the wedding without telling her or Halle. On the other hand, Ben’s ex-girlfriend Margaret is also at the wedding, and he seems to still have feelings for her. What else can two perfectly attractive humans do, if not pretend to be in love, to make all their problems evaporate? Now, Claudia and the group think it’s their plan that’s worked; however, Ben and Bea are playing them so that the wedding goes as smoothly as possible.
Now, I would’ve thought these things were happening over a period of 5 days, at least with the number of outfit changes, but it’s just occurred to me that it’s all happening in one weekend. Anyway, the plan works. Everyone thinks Ben and Bea are having the raunchiest time together, but this is the “fake dating” trope mixed with the “enemies to lovers” trope, so you already know they’re hiding feelings for each other. Finally, it comes time to go on a cruise to celebrate the couple, and Bea has the brilliant idea to have Ben Titanic her. Yes, it works; it’s quite adorable, and they actually look like they’re having fun until Bea falls off the railing, and Ben goes to save her despite being a worse swimmer. They manage to get on a buoy and talk it out a little bit before the rescue team arrives. Finally, they’re able to clear the air and admit that they both liked each other on the day they first met. Bea tells Ben that she quit law school, and he remembers that she had wanted to do so two years ago, too.
When the helicopter arrives, Ben suddenly reveals that he’s afraid of heights, hence in order to make him at ease, Bea starts to sing Unwritten. It is when the man wonders how Bea knows his “serenity” song. It works, though, and they’re both all smiles as they get home. Ben makes her another overly buttered grilled cheese, and one thing leads to another. After they’ve finished their little samba, though, Bea says, everything she’s done lately feels like a “mistake.” This gets Ben worried, thinking she’ll regret her decision, and this time, it’s he who walks out on her. No, they don’t talk to each other about it like mature adults; instead, they sulk separately like 7th graders (maybe they’re both water signs, oops).
Bea doesn’t forget her wingwoman duties, though, and when the opportunity arises, she tells Margaret that Ben really likes her because she somehow thinks he’s the one who didn’t care for their time together. There’s another mishap with the cake on the day of the wedding, leaving Ben and Bea frustrated as they let out their thoughts in front of everybody, even admitting their fling was fake. At the same time, everyone suddenly knows Bea’s quit law school, and her parents think she’s simply been lying about everything. This makes her angry with Ben because he’s the only one who could’ve let them know, and he made a stupid mistake by telling Claudia’s brother by accident. Another thing was ruined by them. Later, when it’s time for the wedding, Ben overhears Claudia and Halle arguing, thanks to Ben and Bea. He tells her they have one last thing to do together, and they go and apologize to the brides.
Do Ben And Bea Finally Get Together?
Of course, they do; this is a comedy, not a tragedy. The Romance of Errors finally comes to an end when Bea heads off to the opera house after seeing Ben and Margaret kiss. Ben knows exactly where she is because he promised her a date there while floating away on the buoy. There’s no way he can get there fast enough, so he decides to jump off a cliff, just as he jumped off a boat for her (how romantic) and asks for Harbour Rescue to pick him up and drop him off at the opera house. There couldn’t have been a grander gesture because Bea had said her favorite part about landmarks like the Opera House was “people in love.” Now she gets to be one of them! Ben makes a speech like he’s reading the poem in 10 Things I Hate About You, except he’s saying the things he loves about her. They get back to the wedding together, and the DJ plays Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield to end it all with a bang. Anyone But You‘s ending is honestly great because the cast sings the song through multiple scenes throughout the film, making you feel all warm and cozy. The end.