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Anyone But You Review: The Sexy, Subversive Romantic Comedy We've Been Starving For

Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell Exude Megawatt Chemistry in This Wildly Fun Modern Reboot of a Shakespeare Classic

Anyone But You Review

Has any recent movie arrived at a more perfectly serendipitous cultural moment than Anyone But You? At a time when the romantic comedy genre has grown distressingly stale through an overreliance on forgettable streaming fare and half-hearted attempts at nostalgia-mining the glory days of Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers, this invigorating shot of adrenaline couldn't feel more urgently necessary.

A thoroughly modern recalibration of Shakespeare's antagonistic lovers from Much Ado About Nothing brought radiantly to life by two of Hollywood's most charismatic young stars, Anyone But You subverts and reinvents the very notion of what a big-screen romantic comedy can achieve in 2023 with thrillingly provocative panache. This is no mere well-meaning throwback content to comfort viewers with familiarity. Director Will Gluck and writer Ilana Wolpert's insanely sexy, utterly hilarious gem among gems vibrates with the intoxicating energy of true innovation - a romantic fantasy so osmotically in tune with the current cultural climate, it's nearly divined from our collective romantic soul's unspoken yearnings.

From the film's unforgettable opening minutes introducing us to the snarling chemistry between Sydney Sweeney's hopelessly cynical Bea and Glen Powell's cockily commitment-phobic Ben, Anyone But You proclaims itself a bracingly modern crowd-pleaser operating at the vanguard of gender progressivism and sexual refreshment. The dated binaries of pristine good girls and feckless Lotharios get tossed out on their ear as these two maddening kindred spirits instead strut confidently across the screen exuding the unapologetic candor and fearless sexual forthrightness today's enlightened romantics crave from our onscreen avatars.

Bea and Ben are defiantly contemporary archetypes in tune with their unapologetic gender fluidities and hang-ups about intimacy in ways few movies have dared depict with such rawness. Sweeney's barbed quips and eye-rolls cut with the rapier wit of Katharine Hepburn at her sauciest. Yet her undeniable frisson with Powell's smoldering swagger and wounded soul bro charm recalls Bogart and Bacall at their most swayingly seductive. The recognition of their unassailable connection erupts in an inevitable collision of blistering bedroom encounters and scorching emotional confessions unlike anything witnessed on the big screen in decades. No punches get pulled, no part of their salacious courtship is shied away from. Theirs is a love story for the ages told in blisteringly honest times.

The Ultimate Romantic Fantasy of Our Era

Of course, Gluck engineers his tale of mutual disgust curdling into obsessive longing not just for titillation value but to stitch together the dazzling emotional throughline fueling the biggest romantic yearning we all harbor deep down. Because beneath the cutting witticisms and toe-curling erotic interludes, this riff on a centuries-old Shakespeare classic conceit taps directly into the most primal, inextinguishable dream throbbing within every desiring heart - that of molten true love arising from the ashes of crippling resentment and emotional devastation.

On its surface, Anyone But You charts the explosive reunion of Ben and Bea as members of an extended wedding party on the hedonistic beaches of Australia. After sparking an instant connection on a movie-perfect first date that ends in mutual humiliation, the inseparable pair are mysteriously drawn back together through a cascading series of circumstantial intrusions and pretense. To keep up appearances for family - and secretly antagonize jealous exes - they concoct the absurd plan of playing along that their animosity has dissolved into swooning ardor. And in the grand tradition of Shakespeare's narrative magic, their gambit at fake affection inevitably and deliciously conjures something deeper right before our smitten eyes. Authentic, soul-deep rapture.

But Gluck and Wolpert embed their ostensibly fizzy romantic yarn with far more conceptual and emotional heft than a simple standard-issue fairy tale. Bea and Ben's quicksilver barbs and repulsed mutual dismissals harbor glimpses of battering inner scars and reconstruction in ways rarely witnessed with such intrepid honesty. She dismisses the idea of love based on her parents' loveless sham of a marriage. He smarms his way through emotionless flings because intimacy terrifies him. Both carry the burden of generational trauma and existential angst in ways entirely normalized for a generation disabused of fairy tale fantasies. Their escalating feud and eventual caving into connection reflects the universal experience of warring with one's own calloused defense mechanisms and learning to admit "meant to be love" might actually exist if you're courageous enough to embrace it.

Anyone But You Review

That symbolic potency is all rendered with the sort of refreshing authenticity and searing candor that makes the whiplash of tones from bawdy slapstick to spiritual awakening feel like the very permutations and contradictions animating most single humans' experiences of romance. One moment, you're rolling around in carnal ecstasy reveling in sexual chemistry. The next, you're asking the big questions of existence and whether souls recognizing each other across crowded rooms remain possible. If a soul is what you hunger for, Gluck contends, then you'll find it no matter how battered your self-confidence or profound your cynicism. You just have to fight for it and obliterate the defenses shielding your true self first.

Sweeney and Powell: Magnetic Movie Stars in the Making

Of course, Anyone But You wouldn't achieve such dizzying heights of intoxicating fantasy and authentic yearning were it not for the genuine movie star magnetism radiating off its two impossibly charismatic leading players. As committed underachiever Bea, Sydney Sweeney infuses the character with such captivating flintiness while adding shattered layers of vulnerability that she transforms into an instant icon - a rose in full-body armor doing battle against her capacity for desire.

Sweeney wields a deliciously salty wit that Gluck's camera familiarly fetishizes through tight framing of her piercing glares, lip-biting reactions, and killer curving physique - as any great rom-com gazer would. Yet every carefully calibrated eye-roll or snarky non-sequitur functions as catnip for Ben's prowling masculinity, coded in invisible font inviting seduction and romance even as her words constantly deflect it. When Bea finally lowers those guards, allowing Sweeney's softer aching warmth and unrealized romantic longings to emerge, you'll swear you're witnessing the arrival of a new Katharine Hepburn - an actress radiating classical movie magnetism with a refreshingly modern attitude.

And that's even before we take account of the atomic physical chemistry detonating between Sweeney and her openly worshipped co-star Glen Powell. As Ben, the actor exudes the kind of ineffable masculine charisma that hasn't radiated off the screen with this much panty-melting intensity since the golden age of Brando and Peck. From the opening seconds of the film's unbearably sexy cold open showing the pair's fatefully unfinished encounter, Powell stamps himself as an old-school star of immense carnal power - the kind of smirking scoundrel loaded with undeniable sex appeal but secreting unexpected patches of wistfulness behind the bravado.

Powell and Sweeney together generate enough hot-blooded sparks and riveting romantic friction to not just power Anyone But You, but to course-correct an entire moribund genre back towards the A-list splendor it deserves for years to come. You likely won't witness a pairing of more galvanic on-screen sensuality on the big screen before the calendar turns than these two blue flames searing into billowing electric conflagration before your smitten eyes. Prepare to fall for both of them, and their destined union, completely and rapturously.

A Romantic Comedy Milestone for a New Generation

The kind of movie that aims to rewire the very circuitry of how we experience and process quintessential cinematic romance itself, Anyone But You stands as nothing less than a landmark milestone in the contemporary rebirth of the romantic comedy form. While a familiar (and exceedingly clever) riff on a beloved Shakespeare narrative helps mooring the frothy proceedings in classical storytelling tradition, Gluck and company modernize the fairy tale for a new age of progressivism in thrillingly provocative style.

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From the unapologetically inclusive vision of amour fou and identity expression glimpsed across the film's myriad coupling arrangements to the normalization of intimacy and bedroom experimentation baked into every deliciously naughty romantic escalation, Anyone But You celebrates the full scope of modern relationships and sexual identities filtered gloriously through a screwball madcap lens of ebullient wit and unvarnished emotional truth. We escape into the evocative Australian locales while also internalizing the perhaps harder-hitting subtextual lessons about dismantling toxic behavioral patterns and traumas in service of true romantic splendor.

In this brave new cinematic world, classic notions of "the one" are upended and scrutinized with progressive openness. Defenses against genuine connection are disarmed with empathy and patience. Desire is lavished without moral condemnation. Love, in all its multifaceted glory, is permitted to simply exist and bloom across the landscape largely free from antiquated patriarchal constraints or high-handed preaching. It's no exaggeration to state that Anyone But You feels like the romantic comedy we desperately required to fully embrace 21st century courtship in all its marvelous contradictions and boundless possibilities. It's life-affirming, boundary-shattering cinema of the highest order.

So get ready to be swept off your feet by a new generation of Hollywood idols. To revel in the barbed romantic fireworks and carnal emotional splendor of a game-changing crowd-pleaser where bathroom hookups and rooftop make-outs are glimpses into love's horizons rather than roadblocks to authentic connection. Most of all, get ready to experience a wildly refreshing cinema where a kiss ultimately isn't just a kiss. It's the culmination of cosmic forces finally aligning genuine twin flames at long last through conquering their own defeating behaviors. You'll laugh rapturously, swoon ceaselessly, and walk out of the theater reborn an undying romantic.

Anyone But You reminds us, simply, of why we still bother falling for the grandest illusion movies are meant to provide - because every now and again one comes along capable of syncing fiction to the truest pulses of humanity's euphoric yearnings once again. No wonder Shakespeare's words kept popping up throughout. Like all sacred texts, eternal truths hide in the spaces between. And in this divine rom-com, the shining eternal future of cinema romance gets scrawled across the screen in dazzling neon and sweat-stained silk sheets. We'll gladly keep tracing the immortal lyric until the credits roll on civilization itself.


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