How to Date Billy Walsh (2024)

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How-to-Date-Billy-Walsh-(2024)
How to Date Billy Walsh (2024)

Romantic comedies work for one reason: they are based on the fact that people want to see others fall in love. The creators of How to Date Billy Walsh on Prime Video seem to assume that their main characters have chemistry without ever proving it. At first, this breezy romance might seem like some sort of twisted wish fulfillment, but once you’ve watched it play out, the hollowness behind its writing becomes painfully apparent. Obviously influenced by She’s All That and John Tucker Must Die, How to Date Billy Walsh does have some things going for it. Mainly, Heartstopper‘s Sebastian Croft who here plays lovesick best friend Archie, and narrates as well. If you’re looking for subversive entertainment, you won’t find much here; Alex Pillai’s movie doesn’t do anything beyond deeply rooted cliche.

Like hundreds of movies before it, we open near the end with a very disheveled Archie lamenting that “all is fair in love and war.” Time freezes then Archie looks directly at us. This will be the first of many times Billy Walsh breaks the fourth wall; from here on out though, Archie takes us back to the first day of their last year of school. He has been in love with his best friend Amelia (Charithra Chandran) since they were both very young (not as far back as when they were switched at birth in the hospital).

On this day he swears he will finally tell ‘Millie’ he loves her but fate has other plans. Enter, uber hottie/bad boy/absolute jerk/the-unattainable-for-so-many-reasons-but-somehow-right-here-in-front-of-her-eyes-so-close-she-can-almost-feel-his-motorcycle-blowing-the-layers-of-pain-off-her-heart-immediately Billy Walsh (Tanner Buchanan).

The entire student body instantly becomes obsessed with the titular Billy Walsh, who can do no wrong. Billy joins the swimming team for obvious reasons he has family drama and personal struggles of his own that Millie could never begin to understand. While she’s fantasizing about her life with Billy, Archie is pining over her. At one point, in what could be this movie’s best actually-good idea, Archie suggests having an “ironic threesome” between the three of them; but that idea is thrown out almost as quickly as it is mentioned. Instead, writers Greer Ellison and Alexander J. Farrell’s script takes a different turn: Archie uses an A.I. app to make himself look 80 years old so he can pose as a “love doctor” and give advice on how to win over Billy Walsh. Not-so-secretly though, Archie gives her terrible advice meant to turn away any potential suitor including staring at him and making him jealous or putting him down on purpose.

The more Millie chased Billy, the more Archie was pushed away. Also, bully Amber made fun of every move Millie made which caused her social status to plummet. I appreciated them giving Millie a lot of definition by having her grieve over her mother’s death; It does make it relatable on a base level, but other than that I don’t understand why he cared about her so deeply in the first place. They were good as close friends, but as a couple? We barely see Archie and Amelia interact at all. Without the intro segment that ties them and their parents together why should we root for their romance? It seems more logical on the surface at least to ship Amelia with Billy. They go on dates, we see his chivalry and learn about the complex backstory of the buff straight white American male.

Almost How To Date Billy Walsh works, but it can’t seem to get out of its own way long enough for the premise to breathe. The gears are spinning without much happening behind the wheel because there is no leaning into either outrageous fun or rom com moments; Take out the fart jokes, spruce up the romance elements and flesh out central relationships between three leads and you have a much better film. The best part of How To Date Billy Walsh was hearing Grouplove’s “Tongue Tied” play over end credits; maybe Challengers will give me love triangle and conflict so desperately needed here.

Also On Putlocker.

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