Critics hated the film starring Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, making disappointing numbers in its opening weekend. But it is Hollywood’s first sleeper hit of 2024 and has in fact made over $151 million.
Two beautiful stars supported by a cast of talented actors, an exotic location, and a love story pitched as a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing— it sounds like a formula for box office gold.
Anyone But You is technically not a romantic comedy. For that, it would have to be funny and there are precious few jokes that land in Anyone But You. While the film does eventually devolve into an awkward ad campaign for Australian tourism and Sydney Harbour Patrol.
It’s tempting to imagine how much better Anyone But You would have been if director and co-writer Will Gluck had got an actor like Ritu Arya, Ayo Edebiri or Lana Condor to play Bea. This would mean Bea has Asian- or African-origin parents. (Read the full review to know why)
Unfortunately, with Sweeney in the lead, almost everything about Bea lacks credibility and feels convenient, rather than coherent. Sweeney struggles to make Bea come alive and Bea seems more interesting on paper than on screen.
Bea doesn’t have to become a better person or change in order to become worthy of love. The film holds out the comfort that it’s ok to flounder and feel lost. At least in the world of the imagination, happiness — and Glen Powell — will still find you.