Bea and Ben are momentarily perfect together, until his overheard harsh words the morning after turns their beautiful brief encounter to ice.
From Sony Pictures and Director Will Gluck, who has given us such treats as ‘Easy A’ and ‘Friends with Benefits’ comes a film very loosely based on Shakespeare’s classic “Much Ado About Nothing”. Co-written with Ilana Wolpert, of ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ it is a story as old as time, the ‘will the boy get the girl’ is told here through the eyes of youth and the beautiful scenery of Australian summertime.
Sydney Sweeney of ‘The White Lotus’ and the upcoming ‘Madame Webb’ plays law school dropout Bea, sister of the bride Halle who is played by Hadley Robinson. With Glen Powell from ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, as love interest Ben, and friend of Claudia – the other bride – played by Alexandra Shipp, both have been inadvertently individually invited to their families wedding in Sydney, Australia. With Bea’s sister and Ben’s friend their brief encounter six months prior is thrown back together into the mix, as they try to avoid past relationships and indeed deep loathing of each other overtaking the joy of Claudia and Halle’s wedding.
With the almost finished script in hand producer Sydney Sweeney took it to Glen Powell who of course loved it and together brought Will Gluck on board to direct. With an ensemble cast of twelve including Dermot Mulroney as Bea’s Dad who was propelled to stardom in ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ and Alexandra Shipp of recent ‘Barbie’ fame as friends with Ben, they must have had a lot of fun filming mostly in Sydney, as it is reflected on screen. The cast on the whole gel well together, to bring us a much needed and long overdue ‘rom-com’ that has now become a sleeper hit exceeding box office expectations through word-of-mouth praise now exceeding the $100m mark worldwide.
With the initial ‘meet cute’, the story begins well with the two strangers thrown together in a funny and well written coffee house scene that could and should have been further exploited to greater use. All too soon, here we are quickly back on familiar territory that whilst hitting certain beats of the rom-com genre, we are sadly not delivered anything new to push the boundaries. Despite a script that at times seems messy and unrefined, Sydney Sweeney and Glenn Powell shine as their interaction ranges from adorable through to spikey and back again as the Sydney opera house occasionally looms large in the background to provide one of the glorious backdrops. With Powell fresh off the back of the massive Top Gun sequel, his willingness to undertake the stunts including jumping off a flying helicopter and working with a Huntsman spider work well. (Incidentally, Sydney was bitten by the same Huntsman with excruciating pain during filming.)
With Glen Powell going against type with Ben’s hatred of flying, of heights and also being a bad swimmer, the use of the night flight scene to Sydney is hilarious and well done as Bea fights to get her clothes back from Ben’s reclined chair as she attempts to steal his first-class cookie. The use of Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” as his serenity song works well on all occasions in the film.
Surely Sydney and Glenn will be working together again soon as their on-screen chemistry shines throughout making the film more than just another rom-com. Escape our dreary British winter and watch the Australian sun shine on the screen, revel in its glow and the warmth one is left with as you leave the cinema with a big smile on your face singing “Unwritten” out loud for anyone and you to hear.
Author: Piers, Maidstone Store