Anyone But You Review

Emma O’Keefe ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Romantic comedy Anyone But You, released in theaters December 2023, has now surpassed classic rom-coms like 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s The Man in the box office. The film has become the highest-grossing live-action William Shakespeare adaptation. As audiences roll in to watch Anyone but You many viewers and critics believe the film’s quality is not up to par with its commercial success and rom-com contemporaries.

10 Things I Hate About You is beloved by audiences. Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) is the protagonist of the movie. She’s an angsty teenage girl with ambitions and opinions that the people around her don’t approve of. She’s corny as any rom-com character is bound to be but she holds real values and characteristics that viewers see in themselves . Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) follows the ‘bad boy with a good heart’ trope as closely as a character can. However, it works because of Ledger’s natural charm, charisma, and of course, good looks. 

In Anyone But YouBea (Sydney Sweeney) is a law student who maybe doesn’t want to be a lawyer—shocking twist!) Ben (Glen Powell) is a self-proclaimed fuckboy that works in finance. 

Despite pressure from her parents, Sweeney’s character is shown to have no ambitions or goals past not wanting to go to law school. Nothing is known about Powell’s character past the fact that he’s hot and his mom is dead. Dead mothers are vitally important to the back stories of rom-com protagonists. 

The Guardian describes Anyone But You as “slick but soulless,” which is probably the best way to put it. Sweeney and Powell look great and are talented actors but the script doesn’t give them much to work with. The marketing for this movie was also carried by the star’s sex appeal in the form of their rumored on-set affair, which is much more interesting than the actual movie. It just doesn’t feel like there’s a thought behind Powell’s beautiful eyes, but, to be fair, that’s what viewers know and love him for. Sweeney, on the other hand, has shown that her acting chops are up to par with the best of her peers with two Emmy nominations in 2022 for her roles in Euphoria and The White Lotus

On the contrary, 10 Things I Hate About You follows Kat Stratford, someone who definitely does have thoughts behind her eyes and isn’t afraid to share them. It’s Stratford’s personality and passion outside of her romantic life that makes her so appealing. Her relationship with her deceased mother also pushes the plot forward, working as both the conflict between Kat and her sister Bianca and the heart of the two’s relationship. In Anyone But You Ben’s deceased mother works more as the third bullet point for what makes Ben a real person. 

Supporting characters like Bianca and Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in 10 Things I Hate About You are also what set these romantic comedies apart. Bianca and Cameron are the B-plot of the movie and Cameron’s infatuation for Bianca is what drives the A-plot forward. This happens as Cameron pays Patrick to go out with Kat so that he can go out with Bianca. Bianca and Kat’s sisterly dynamic is key to developing Kat’s character while Cameron motivates Patrick to pursue Kat even past his self-interest in dating Bianca. Bea’s sister Halle (Hadley Robinson) in Anyone But You is engaged to Claudia (Alexandra Shipp) and the days leading up to the wedding is when the bulk of the plot takes place. While it’s nice to see queer representation on screen, it feels like that’s all these supporting characters are for, besides hosting the event that forces the protagonists together.

10 Things I Hate About You and Anyone but You follow the same formula of a rom-com based on Shakespeare with two hot up-and-coming leads. But, it’s the subtle differences that set the two apart. The script for 10 Things I Hate About You is clever and its characters are relatable to audience members.  The film’s side characters hold as much substance as their protagonist counterparts, and while the same can be said for Anyone but You, that’s not saying much seeing as Bea and Ben don’t hold much substance at all. 

Anyone but You has been praised for bringing back the rom-com genre to the big screen, which is something to celebrate, but its success also means movie producers will be encouraged to fund more movies with hollow—but admittedly hot—characters. Hopefully, the success of this rom-com will also mean bringing back rom-coms that do hold substance and characters audiences relate to like 10 Things I Hate About You. 

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