How to Date Billy Walsh REVIEW – Fun for a Few Dates

Yeah, I'd date this film. Wouldn't marry it though.

How to Date Billy Walsh
How to Date Billy Walsh

How to Date Billy Walsh isn’t a serious film, and if you’re expecting the teenage rom-com goodness of a John Hughes film, you’ll be disappointed – nothing can come close to the magic of Some Kind of Wonderful. However, it’s a fun, campy movie to just put on and chuckle at a few times while you’re lounging about at home.

It’s a tale as old as time – Archie (Sebastian Croft) has been in love with his best friend Milly (Charithra Chandran of Bridgerton fame) his whole life. The problem is, he’s never worked up the courage to tell her. It’s difficult to put yourself out there, and Archie is worried that maybe his feelings won’t be reciprocated. So he squanders every single opportunity he has to tell her, and then it’s too late, because the new American transfer student Billy (Tanner Buchanan) has caught her eye. Milly wants to experience proper romance, someone to love and cherish her, and she’s tired of waiting. Billy Walsh is the eye candy answer to all her problems.

The film is clearly mocking the way Billy is viewed by Milly and all the other students in the school. Billy is always in the same cool guy clothing – not subject to a school uniform like the rest – and often the subject of female adulation, be it while he’s on his motorcycle or emerging from the swimming pool. Much like Amanda Jones, Billy Walsh is given very little space in the film to be a proper human being. And that’s the whole point. When we crush on someone from a distance, all their perfections are magnified and they glow with a certain luminosity. We put them on pedestals, fantasizing about them in a way that isn’t real. It’s the same for Milly, who just wants to be loved.

Afraid that he’ll lose Milly to the charms of Billy Walsh, Archie uses an ageing app to become the love doctor – the love expert that dispenses advice to Milly on how to get Billy’s interest. This is the part of the film that’s a bit sketchy, since he’s giving advice to Milly that involves her absolutely humiliating herself. In real life, there’s no coming back from something like that, but in this campy, satirical world, we’re able to understand Archie’s contemptible actions, even if we can’t excuse them.

Archie breaks the fourth wall constantly throughout the film, much like Ferris Bueller does, and there’s some humour to be had there. There’s some interesting visual shots as well, like Archie’s continuous running down a long flight of stairs. Croft and Chandran are decent together, but I wished the film put in more work in creating set pieces that would bring out their chemistry. Keith and Watts had tremendous chemistry in Some Kind of Wonderful, which is possible even when you’re doing a friends-to-lovers premise.

At some point, ‘John Hughes Movie’ by Maisie Peters plays that says “Cos this ain’t no John Hughes movie, where the girl gets the guy”. I couldn’t help but think, yeah, this isn’t a John Hughes movie, but it does entertain I suppose, in the most superficial of ways.

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How to Date Billy Walsh
How to Date Billy Walsh attempts to be this generation's answer to John Hughes' Some Kind of Wonderful. It doesn't succeed, but it does entertain in a superficial way.