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How to Date Billy Walsh

It's been a hectic weekend for new releases; we've had a directorial debut from Dev Patel in Monkey Man, a prequel to a classic horror in The First Omen and a British Dark Ages comedy in Seize Them!. It's no surprise that new British teen rom-com How to Date Billy Walsh has flown under the radar, despite it arriving straight to our homes via Prime Video.

With a simplistic and digestible story-line and a charismatic cast full of British gems that try their best, How to Date Billy Walsh attempts to reach the stars with its production but ultimately tackles too much, creating a messy affair that misses the mark in all areas.


Archie has always kept his love for Amelia a secret, but just as he builds up the courage to declare his feelings, she falls for Billy, the new transfer student.


The cast is stacked full of tremendous talent, and some viewers may even be tempted to push play because of this. Featuring Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead), Lucy Punch (Hot Fuzz), comedian Guz Khan and Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory), a lot of likeable actors have been pulled together. Upon watching, it's a shame to discover that most of these guys are reduced to mere cameos, with a minimal amount of screen-time or lines to deliver. If you're considering watching the movie to see the older cast members in action, you needn't bother. Luckily, leads Sebastian Croft (Game of Thrones) and Charithra Chandran (Alex Rider) are able to pick up the slack. They are super charming and charismatic in their role as two besties, one of which is head over heels in love with the other. They're awkward and sweet and certainly try to elevate the material they're given.

The story here is very simple – Archie (Croft) loves Amelia (Chandran) but she has a crush on the new kid in school, an American transfer student named Billy Walsh (Tanner Buchanan). However easy-going the story sounds, the approach the film-makers attempt to take is quite the opposite. There are a couple of likeable elements in here, such as the frequent movie references (particularly horror), seeing the love eventually if predictably bloom between the two leads and the amount of colour injected into each scene. Unfortunately, that's not even half of what this movie tries to do. It throws in unexplored themes of grief and death, cringe-worthy fourth wall breaks, multiple side characters that go underdeveloped, a sub-plot involving lead Archie using AI to pretend to be a love guru and much, much more. It tackles way too much and doesn't dedicate enough of its run-time to any theme or idea; the messiness and busy feel is borderline annoying. This might've been more successful if it took a restrained approach and took its time, but the film ends up feeling manic.

How to Date Billy Walsh

The script is How to Date Billy Walsh's weakest link, which ultimately causes it to fail. Despite how charismatic the cast are, and they really do try, the characters they're playing are often unlikeable – especially Billy. He treats his best friend incredibly badly, spends a large portion of the run-time moaning and moping whilst failing to realise how lucky he is. Not only does he have a wonderful bestie, but enough money to have a chauffeur take him to school and a glamorous large house. Titular character Billy Walsh is severely underdeveloped, the only thing going for him seems to be his looks – he's the cool new guy, nothing more. There are far too many side characters and they're all diminished to stereotypes – a gay guy who is just gay, and a mean girl who is just mean. There is no development here for anyone. The jokes are seriously unfunny and rarely land, a lot of them involving Amelia embarrassing herself in front of her crush Billy, which is a very tired trope. Speaking of tropes, this movie is full of them, creating such a bland story that really wants to have its own flair but can't escape its predictable formula, no matter how badly it tries..

How to Date Billy Walsh should feel lucky to boast a stellar cast, oodles of energy and colourful visuals, because that's all it really has going for it. The characters are either underdeveloped or unlikeable, the dialogue paired with the excessive use of fourth wall breaks is bad and the script attempts to throw an awful lot at the wall, none of it sticking. Its chaotic in its style and whilst it has to be commended for trying to be bold, it ends up annoyingly too much. Perhaps it should stay under the radar.


Rating How to date Billy Walsh



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