‘How to Date Billy Walsh’ (2024) Review: Painfully Unwatchable Teen Rom-Com

Nuha Hassan
4 min readApr 11, 2024
Charithra Chandran and Sebastian Croft as Amelia and Archie. Image courtesy of Prime Video.

Alex Pillai’s How to Date Billy Walsh is the latest entry in the young adult romantic comedy genre, with a mix of Fleabag-style fourth-wall-breaking narration by the central male character. Perhaps I’m growing old to the point where I don’t necessarily enjoy romantic comedies clearly targeted towards younger audiences. Still, it seems worth mentioning that regardless of my age, this movie was painful to watch. I didn’t have a lot of expectations for this movie but everything about it, except for the casting choices, was unbearable.

The film follows Amelia (Charithra Chandran, Bridgerton) and Archie (Sebastian Croft), who have been best friends since childhood. He has been in love with her for a long time but never confesses his feelings to her because their friendship will be ruined. Or worse, Amelia might not feel the same way. One day, he plucks up the courage to finally tell her his true feelings, but when a new American transfer student, Billy Walsh (Tanner Buchanan, He’s All That) arrives at the school, Archie’s plans are ruined. Amelia develops a crush on Billy, and asks Archie’s help, even though he is heartbroken. She wants to get closer to Billy and ask him to go to prom. Instead of helping Amelia and risking losing his best friend, he tries to sabotage their potential relationship by giving false advice to her.

I understand that How to Date Billy Walsh is for young adults. But I do enjoy watching romantic comedies a lot. I grew up watching She’s All That, How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days, and my favourite romantic comedy, 10 Things I Hate About You. There’s no way any character in the present and future can top Heath Ledger serenading Julia Stiles’ Kat Stratford with Frank Valli’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ with a school marching band. You just can’t!

Sebastian Croft as Archie. Image courtesy of Prime Video.

What’s disappointing about recent romantic comedies is that it doesn’t have that movie magic. It’s just another movie with the stereotypical underdog with a massive crush on their best friend, which has been tried before, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But the story is boring and there’s no chemistry between the actors. As Archie replayed how he got into this mess, I kept asking myself: Was I meant to feel sorry for him? It was hard to understand his perspective. He kept putting his best friend through humiliating situations without remorse. He also pretends to be the “love doctor,” an elderly man who advises on relationships by using AI technology to make himself older. Amelia reaches out to the “love doctor” and bares all her feelings out for the fake doctor, only for him to use it against her in every way possible.

The central characters are meant to be someone viewers can root for, but it is hard to feel anything towards Archie because there’s nothing special about him. He has a chauffeur, lives in a mansion, and can afford anything that he wants. He can book an entire cinema to confess his feelings to Amelia. Archie, for most of the movie, carries himself like a loser. He’s unable to grasp that Amelia might like someone other than him. Then he goes to great lengths to lie to her and sabotage her feelings for Billy.

As for Billy, even though the movie title has his name, there’s nothing that I know about him. He’s just there to rescue Amelia in times of peril. Or walk through the halls of the school observing Amelia being humiliated by her peers. He is the most boring character in How to Date Billy Walsh, with Archie taking the lead.

The only character who should have been the central character is Amelia, and the movie turns her into this dumb friend, even though she’s smart and funny at the beginning of the film! I loved Chandran as Edwina Sharma in Bridgerton. I think How to Date Billy Walsh pays a disservice to her talents. She tries her best to show her charms but the story and everything about this movie turns into a grey, lifeless incoherent mess. If you have any expectations about this movie, I implore you not to do that. Immediately, stop. Lower it and then double it. Turn your TV off and enjoy your day outside.

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