Anyone But You parents guide

Anyone But You Parent Guide

Frothy and funny, this rom-com is also full of sex and skin.

Overall C-

Theaters: After a fling, Bea and Ben find themselves at a destination wedding together where they have to convince everyone they're a couple.

Release date December 22, 2023

Violence B
Sexual Content C-
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Anyone But You rated R? The MPAA rated Anyone But You R for language throughout, sexual content and brief graphic nudity

Run Time: 103 minutes

Parent Movie Review

A meet-cute between Bea and Ben (played charmingly by Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell) leads to instant connection, long conversation, and a night of passion on Ben’s couch. The morning after sees misunderstanding and hurt feelings, which deepen and fester over the next few months.

The animosity is a problem because Bea and Ben are going to be seeing a lot more of each other. Bea’s sister, Halle (Hadley Robinson) is marrying Claudia (Alexandra Shipp), the sister of Ben’s best friend, Pete (Gata). The wedding is being held in Claudia and Pete’s home country of Australia, which requires their friends and family to spend time together in closer quarters than normal. To make things more awkward, Ben’s ex is attending, as are Bea’s parents, who have matchmaking plans of their own. In a moment of desperation, Ben and Bea decide to pretend that they’re a couple. Can the two frenemies convince everyone that their romance is for real? What happens if they start to believe it themselves?

“Pretend partners” is a familiar plot device for romantic comedies. I’ve seen this movie before, in numerous iterations, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Anyone But You falls on the midline for the genre. On the bright side, the leads manage to inject their real and fake relationships with more emotional nuance than I expected. The Australian setting is gorgeous, the secondary cast members entertaining, and the general air of good cheer that pervades the tale makes for a frothy little film.

The movie might be predictable, but the screenwriters put a bit more effort into their work than you see in much of the genre. The plot is clearly influenced by Shakespeare’s comedy, “Much Ado About Nothing”, which stars the squabbling pair of Beatrice and Benedick. This script lacks the wit that the Bard wrote into the couple’s banter, but it keeps the element of contrary couple and interfering, well-meaning friends. Quotes from the play pop up throughout the film, offering fun Easter eggs for fans of Shakespeare. If you’re going to borrow, you might as well borrow from the best.

Unfortunately, Anyone But You goes overboard on negative content. There are two scenes of marijuana use, over seventy profanities (including 49 sexual expletives) and a whole lot of sexual innuendo and activity. This isn’t just a movie about romance; it’s wound up tight with sexual tension. Bea and Ben begin their relationship with sex, and that physical attraction remains at the core of their bond. They also heat up the screen with a steamy sex scene that involves showering together, undressing one another, and embracing in bed. There are no visible genitals, but there’s plenty of skin, including the side of Bea’s breast. More nudity is to be seen in other parts of the film, with a woman’s breasts fully visible as she sunbathes topless, and several scenes of male buttock nudity in both sexual and non-sexual contexts.

The excessive negative content is frustrating because this could have been a decently watchable PG-13 rom-com. The genre could always use family-friendly movies that rise above those cheaply-produced Hallmark specials – but this doesn’t fit the bill.

Directed by Will Gluck. Starring Sydney Sweeney, Glen Powell, Alexandra Shipp. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release December 22, 2023. Updated

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Anyone But You
Rating & Content Info

Why is Anyone But You rated R? Anyone But You is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, sexual content and brief graphic nudity

Violence: A woman slaps a man across the front of his swim trunks. There are brief moments of peril when a man and woman fall overboard from a boat. A man jumps off a cliff on purpose so he can be rescued by helicopter.
Sexual Content: There are frequent kissing scenes; some involving men and women and others between two women. A woman sunbathes topless on the beach and when she sits up her breasts are fully visible. There are several scenes of men’s bare buttocks, in both sexual and non-sexual contexts. A man rips his clothes off because he thinks a spider is inside them; he is seen fully naked from the rear and only his hands cover his genitals. A man and woman stroke each other’s buttocks before sticking their hands down the inside of each other’s pants. While explaining Australian slang for genitalia, a naked man is seen with his hands cupped around his penis, which is not visible. A lesbian relationship and marriage is a major plot point. Two women are shown embracing in bed while fully clothed. A man and woman kiss passionately and are later shown asleep on the couch together; sex is not seen but is implied and later referred to. A man and woman kiss heatedly and shower together, where they remove each other’s clothing, revealing the side of the woman’s breast. The couple then go to bed together and are seen kissing and embracing; bare backs are visible as is the side of the woman’s breast. Women are frequently seen in revealing swimwear or low cut dresses that reveal a lot of cleavage.
Profanity: The script contains over 70 profanities, including at least 49 sexual expletives, 13 terms of deity, eight scatological curses, and a smattering of minor profanities and crude anatomical terms. A vulgar term for women is also used on a few occasions. A man uses multiple Australian slang terms for male genitals.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   People drink alcohol at social events. Adults smoke marijuana in two scenes. A main character briefly refers to past use of cocaine and crack.

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Anyone But You Parents' Guide

Why do Bea and Ben decide to pretend they’re a couple? Do you think they might have underlying motives they don’t want to acknowledge?

What role does miscommunication play in their relationship problems? Do you think their issues are situational or part of their relationship dynamics? Why do you think poor communication is such a common part of rom-com plots? 

Home Video

Related home video titles:

This story borrows elements from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. There are two movie versions; one filmed in 1993 and one in 2013.

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In The Proposal, a Canadian boss insists that her assistant pretend to be her fiancé so she can maintain her US immigration status.

He needs a higher salary to pay off debts; she needs medical insurance to cover her insulin costs, so Luke and Cassie enter into a fake marriage in Purple Hearts.

Famed author C.S. Lewis agrees to a marriage of convenience so his friend, Joy Gresham, can stay in England. Shadowlands shows how their relationship evolves as tragedy strikes.