Table of Contents
Photo: ‘Anything’s Possible’
Romantic Comedies and Me
‘Anything’s Possible’ is a romantic teen dramedy directed by actor/singer/songwriter Billy Porter in his directorial debut, and written by Ximeno García Lecuona. Lecuona’s script was originally on the 2020 Black List and was titled ‘What If?’. The story centers around trans teenage girl Kelsa (Eva Reign), who has started her final year at high school and is looking forward to moving up in life. One day, one of Kelsa’s friends Em (Courtnee Carter) gets her to pass a flirty note to Khal (Abubakr Ali), a boy Em has her eyes on. However, after Kelsa does so, Khal begins to develop feelings toward Kelsa instead, feelings that she begins to return. Naturally, this leads to tension and drama for everyone involved.
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I’ll admit right off the bat that out of all the movie genres out there, the romantic comedy is the one I’m generally least fond of. However, as a film enthusiast, I think it’s important to step out of my comfort zone and give movies that I might not normally be fond of a chance. And after all, I did love both ‘The Wedding Singer’ and the ‘Nutty Professor’ remake starring Eddie Murphy, so it’s not like I’m opposed to all romantic comedy films in existence. Not to mention that this is moreso a dramedy than a straight-up comedy, so if the comedy didn’t click with me, perhaps I’d be able to get behind the drama side. Either way, I was willing to give ‘Anything’s Possible’ a chance…
…But I Didn’t Like It
Unfortunately, despite my open-mindedness, ‘Anything’s Possible’ fell flat for me in a number of different ways; I found it to be a forgettable, cliche, and melodramatic film that doesn’t say anything particularly new or insightful. On one hand, I do appreciate what this movie was trying to go for; depicting a relationship between a boy and a trans girl and emphasizing how natural it can be, despite how some people might feel toward it. We get a feel for what the characters go through, how they feel during any given moment, and get a pretty decent sense of perspective. However, despite the well-meaning themes relating to identity and self-confidence, none of it is in any way subtle. The overall writing of the film feels very shallow and all the dialogue presented is in-your-face; there’s no nuance to anything here. I understand that this is a high school drama story, and that maybe the non-subtle dialogue was intentional, but it didn’t really work in the film’s favor at all.
The main thing that made ‘Anything’s Possible’ fall short of its potential for me was the characters themselves. Going back to what I said about the writing, the characters simply aren’t that engaging. Not only that, but they actually come across as kind of unlikable more often than they should. When Kelsa and Khal first hit it off, Kelsa chastises Khal for giving her flowers in front of Em when he knew she was the one crushing on him. However, she immediately forgives him and the two don’t seem very concerned about Em’s feelings for the rest of the day. And without spoiling anything, during the film’s emotional boiling point, just about every character begins to come off as unlikable, and I wasn’t really siding with anybody. By the end of the film, I didn’t really care what became of the main characters because I just couldn’t connect with them in any way, and for a heavily character-driven movie such as this one, that’s a major issue.
Humor and Music
The comedic side of ‘Anything’s Possible’ doesn’t fare too much better. This isn’t a particularly funny movie; most of the jokes come off as weak more than anything. Chris (Kelly Lamor Wilson) is written to be humorously over the top, but her character instead comes across as somewhat annoying in the few scenes she’s featured in (through no fault of the actress, don’t get me wrong). One moment in particular where the comedy was jarring was during the aforementioned “boiling point” I mentioned earlier, when a joke is suddenly thrown into a scene that, up until that point, had been completely serious, and then the rest of the scene continues to play out in a serious manner. Even with the issues I personally had with the scene, to begin with, this moment of comic relief felt poorly placed. Overall though, I wouldn’t consider the humor to be that bad at all, it’s just another aspect of the film that I didn’t really vibe with.
Another drawback of ‘Anything’s Possible’ is its soundtrack. This film incorporates quite a bit of non-diegetic incidental songs throughout, and the music itself tends to be more distracting than anything. They’re largely the kind of electro-pop pieces one could expect to hear on the radio, and they’re generally rather loud in the audio mix. I might be just a little biased, as I didn’t care for just about any of them, but they did nothing to enhance the film. The score by Leo Birenberg (‘Cobra Kai’, ‘Pen15’) fairs a little better; it’s the standard kind of stuff you’d expect to hear in a quirky comedy film, and it’s never as loud or gratuitous as the aforementioned songs.
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Music aside, ‘Anything’s Possible’ was directed decently enough, with plenty of colorful visuals and well-lit scenes. Throughout the film, Khal responds to a few Reddit posts, and I actually liked the way these posts were represented: The posts themselves morph into a webcam-like view of the site users themselves reading their posts out like they’re talking over a Skype or Zoom call. It’s always important to remember that film is a visual medium, and as far as characters reading blocks of text go, this is a pretty clever approach. ‘Anything’s Possible’ also does what a lot of movies featuring texting do, showing the character’s texts pop up on screen rather than showing a close-up of them on the phone. I’ve heard some people say that they aren’t fond of this particular stylistic choice, but I don’t mind it, as not only do we get to read the messages alongside the character, but we also get to see the reactions of the characters themselves.
The pacing of this film was also surprisingly good. Oftentimes when it comes to movies I don’t care for, I’ll often find the pacing to be a bit too slow for my liking. However, this actually wasn’t the case here. I never felt like any scenes went on for too long, and was never truly bored at any point in this film. For what it is, ‘Anything’s Possible’ moves at just the right speed, never too fast and never too slow. Regardless of how I felt about the movie’s script, it does have a fair bit of personality in its presentation.
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Should You Watch ‘Anything’s Possible’?
I hate to be so negative towards a film that was both a directorial and feature-writing debut, but sadly, ‘Anything’s Possible’ just wasn’t for me at all. This film has good intentions, and some messages that will really resonate with a lot of people, but at the end of the day, it just feels like another generic romantic comedy/drama film. At the same time, however, I respect the fact that movies like these aren’t always for me, and that they’ll better resonate with others. If you’re someone who is into rom-coms (or in this case, rom-com-drams) and ‘Anything’s Possible’ looks like the kind of movie you’d enjoy, I’d recommend watching it yourself and forming your own opinion.
Cast & Crew:
Directed by: Billy Porter
Written by: Ximeno García Lecuona
Starring: Eva Reign, Abubakr Ali, Courtnee Carter, Kelly Lamor Wilson
By Austin Oguri
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Austin Oguri is a screenwriter and has deep appreciation for the art of film in general, he aims to offer unique perspectives through his film reviews and feature articles. He also has a soft spot for lesser-known works, and enjoys spotlighting them whenever he can. Austin has always found it necessary for people to encourage and bring out the best in each other, and as a writer at The Hollywood Insider, he can combine that ideology with his ability to think outside the box and truly express his love for the arts in the best ways possible.