(director/writer: Will Gluck; screenwriter: Ilana Wolpert; cinematographer: Danny Ruhlmann; editor: Tia Nolan; music: Este Haim, Chris Stracey; cast: Sydney Sweeney (Bea), Glen Powell (Ben), Alexandra Shipp (Claudia), GaTa (Pete), Hadley Robinson (Halle), Michelle Hurd (Carol), Dermot Mulroney (Leo), Darren Barmnet (Jonathan), Rachel Griffiths (Inne), Nat Buchanan (Miranda Clerk); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Will Gluck, Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum; A Sony Pictures Releasing release of a Columbia Pictures; 2023)
“A glossy formulaic rom-com that tries its hand at doing Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothingand succeeds only in getting the nothing part right.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A glossy formulaic rom-com that tries its hand at doing Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and succeeds only in getting the nothing part right. The romantic story is drab and the comedy isn’t funny.
It’s directed with a raunchiness not often seen in a mainstream rom-com by the Los Angeles residing Will Gluck (“Easy A”/”Peter Rabbit”), who has a couple of good films under his belt but blows this one. It’s co-written by Gluck and Ilana Wolpert who easily can explain the love part as a physical attraction, but the hate the couple have for each other they can’t explain.
The attractive Bea (Sydney Sweeney) and the handsome Ben (Glen Powell) reside in Boston. She attends law school at Boston University, but is not sure she wants to be studying law. He‘s a cocky guy who works in finance for a brokerage firm. They meet on the cute in a city coffee house and hit it off, and have a good time that night. In the morning, somehow, they have a disconnect and part ways without any plans to see each other again.
A couple of months laterthey surprisingly meet again at a wedding in Australia. It turns out that Bea’s sister and Ben’s friend are getting married and they are both invited. At the reception, both decide to act like grownups and pretend to act as a happy couple.
The couple are not convincing either when loving or hating each other. There’s a flatness in their portrayals that prevents us from believing or caring about them. With that being said, all a viewer can do when trying to enjoy what could have been a cool screwball comedy if done right, is watch Bea go through several wardrobe changes and catch the beautiful views of Australia. The slight screenplay and the awkward acting makes an old farce into a witless pic, that was more annoying than smart, romantic or funny.