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“How to Date Billy Walsh” is Yet Another Cliché High School Romance Trope

The Alex Pillai-directed film could’ve at least tried to be different from the other high school romance films, but it’s caged in a den of clichés.
April 30, 2024
4:09 pm
How to date Billy Walsh

To unpack Prime Video’s latest contribution to the high school romance trope, that is “How to Date Billy Walsh,” we have to first start with the title “How to Date Billy Walsh.”


An objective view of the title will have one believe that the film will be told from a female or male perspective on how to bag the boy you like. However, the film doesn’t head in that direction, which is a glaring misnomer. If anything, “How to Date Billy Walsh” should have been titled “How to Date Amelia Brown” because it’s centered on how the male protagonist, Archie (Sebastian Croft), has been in love with his best friend, Amelia Brown (Charithra Chandran) since they were kids.


However, he has never dared to tell her so as not to ruin their friendship. Billy Walsh (Tanner Buchanan) has absolutely nothing to do with Archie’s state of mind and how he tries (but fails miserably) to tell Amelia that he loves her.


The film opens with a dirty and slightly shaven-headed Archie interrupting the festivities of his high school’s summer ball to detail how he got himself into his less-than-presentable predicament. He takes us on a trip down memory lane, detailing how his “best-friendship” with Amelia came to be. The two bond over horror movies, chocolate popcorn, and fear farts. For seventeen years, their attachment to each other is unmatched, and as they take on the mean world of high school, where they are at the bottom of the food chain, they always rely on each other.


How to date Billy Walsh

Cracks in their friendship begin to manifest when Amela takes a liking to the popular new guy in high school, Billy Walsh. She enlists Archie’s help on how to approach Walsh, but he turns her down. She then turns to a love therapist called the “Love Doctor” who gives her terrible advice. Turns out the “Love Doctor” is Archie who, through an age-altering AI app, intentionally sabotages his best friend’s chances of being with Walsh through his “sage words.”


When Amelia finds out about this, she’s upset, and their friendship becomes history. Fast forward to the night of the summer ball: Archie and Amelia reconcile after he apologizes to her with a heartfelt speech in front of the whole school.


If the plot sounds familiar, it’s probably because Netflix’ “Sex Education,” “Heartstopper,” and a million other high school romance books have exhausted the “in love with my best friend” source material to the point that it has become exhausting. High school romance films desperately need to start searching for other engaging plots to captivate their target audience. Respectfully, Gen Z is TIRED of this one.


“How to Date Billy Walsh” doesn’t even try to set itself apart from the rest of the high school film cliches. The main characters, Archie and Amelia, are not popular. Check. They are bullied by THREE mean girls, their leader being a blonde-haired manipulator, Amber (Daisy Jelley). Check. There’s a new boy in town that everyone is smitten with. Check. The popular girl (Amber) and the unpopular girl (Amelia) fight for his attention. Check. The popular girl humiliates the unpopular girl in front of the said boy they both want at any given opportunity. Check. Alexander J. Farrell and Greer Ellison (the writers of the film) could’ve at least tried to help the plot by giving us something different from what we’ve already seen. Instead, we’re left with …well this.


To its credit, the film impresses with perfect comedic timing and dazzling British humor thanks to Croft, whose portrayal of Archie is humorous and sassy. He makes the most of this overbaked plot with his one-liners and witty disses. A diss comes to memory: “If you were on life support, I’d unplug you to charge my third phone.” Classic!



Chandran’s portrayal of Amelia deserves the “Prime Video Scene Stealer Award.” Her portrayal of the naive yet eager Amelia melts hearts. Literally. Her emotional vulnerability onscreen is perfect and deserves more praise than it’s currently getting.


Buchanan, the eponymous Billy Walsh, is a pretty boy (with depth at least) who barely adds shock value to the plot. It’s like he’s tossed in the mix just so the title makes some sense. Buchanan’s role as the rebellious Robby Keene in the martial arts drama, “Cobra Kai,” is far better than this one.


“How to Date Billy Walsh” might have been the perfect young adult film if it drifted far away from the clichés and focused not only on Archie’s point of view, but Amelia’s as well. Amelia’s life story could’ve been explored, and it would’ve made for a far more interesting film, seeing as Amelia faced hardships in life. Her mother died when she was only nine years old, so she was raised solely by her father. She also faced the wrath of the mean girls in school via bullying. Amelia deserves more, and so does this film.


“How to Date Billy Walsh” is now streaming on Prime Video.


Release Date: April 5, 2024

Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes, and 47 seconds

Streaming Service: Prime Video

Director: Alex Pillai

Cast: Sebastian Croft, Charithra Chandran, Tanner Buchanan, Daisy Jelley, Kunal Nayyar, Nick Frost, and Lucy Punch

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