There I sat in the back (it would be years before I was let ride passenger) as my mom parked the car into our Sunday morning must: our local French bakery. A fifteen minute wait later, mom held her decaf cortadito as I bit into the perfect doughnut, a round paradox of fluffiness and denseness coated in a thin layer of sugar glaze. The weekend ritual was gone before I celebrated double digits, and the family feud that led to the bakery’s closure turned the locally famous doughnut recipe to a lost art of the past. There seems to be much that was left in the 2000s. In these nostalgic moments, certain movie go-ers nod their head aggressively in agreement. They miss the feel-good and well-done romantic comedies of the 00s, wondering why the golden era of the Rom-Coms seemed to quickly dwindle down before the decade (too) turned double digits. Now, these fans deeply sigh whilst braving streaming sites for something new. Spoiler alert, the search turns up scarce. These blush-seeking fans end up re-watching one of the so-called classics, like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, She’s the Man, The Holiday, 27 Dresses, and The Proposal, among others.
In truth, repetition— even of our favourite things— is bound to get tiresome, but the 2000s Rom-com formula was a sweet treat audiences did not have enough time with before it drifted into an inexplicable hibernation… until now. The recently released Anyone but You took notes, stretched, and decided to give it a go, one which far surpassed my expectations. The film includes most characteristics that made the beloved comedies sassy and snappy: a script loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s dramatic romances, quirky inside jokes that recur every so often, a secret that is is hazardously being kept, and the unmissable pop song that stays stuck in your head days after the credits roll. Do not be mistaken—a movie looking to check all those boxes and leave would not be as fun as Anyone but You. The Australian scenery, the tensions of an upcoming wedding, and the contemporary setting give the production its own voice and form alike and unlike its predecessors.
The film cannot be addressed without the talk of the town: Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney. The trailer initially looked quite dry chemistry-wise; the cast even went back to refilm certain scenes due to its reception. In truth, the actors’ humorous and sassy interactions on screen worked. It is Sydney Sweeney’s monotone acting that, while good, can give off a deceptive seriousness to the duo. Not overtly goofy, audiences could interpret this as a personality trait of someone pressured to be performative for an overbearing family. In addition, a fascinating aspect is the film’s age audience. The characters are not grown up for them to be in an established career position but not quite young as for them to be in high school or university. From switching careers to embracing the ridiculousness of thriving in corporate culture, Anyone but You caters to a young adult audience in their twenties not confident in if they are doing life correctly, especially compared to what older generations were doing at their age. The characters’ stages in life are a successful attempt at renewing the genre in its relatability.
In essence, why fix what is not broken? Like any rom-com (which many seem to forget), it requires some sense of disbelief and letting go. Embellishing the 2000s romcom in a new way, the film encourages yourself to fall in love and laugh, just as our characters are doing. Will I ever get to indulge the world’s perfect doughnut again? Time can only tell, (realistically, no), but the world did get their taste of something thought to be lost through Will Gluck’s Anyone but You. It’s official, the recipe to the classic Rom-Com has seemed to be recovered. Personally, I cannot wait to ride in the passenger seat of a car, blasting ‘Unwritten’ by Natasha Bedingield, on my way to the cinemas in what hopefully is a revived Rom-Com era.