Movie Reviews

Dermot Mulroney's Anyone But You Success Is A Reminder Of How Friends Wasted Him 21 Years Ago

Summary

  • Dermot Mulroney shines in Anyone But You, showcasing his rom-com roots in a stellar supporting role as Bea and Halle’s father, Leo.
  • Friends wasted Mulroney’s potential in season 9 by cutting his character Gavin short despite having chemistry with Rachel.
  • Mulroney was given a more prominent romantic role as Jess’ love interest Russell Shiller in the 2010s sitcom New Girl, which almost made up for Friends sidelining his character.



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Dermot Mulroney’s supporting role in Anyone But You serves as a reminder of how much Friends wasted his character’s potential in a later season of the beloved sitcom. Starring alongside Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell in Anyone But You, Mulroney plays Leo, the father of Sweeney’s character Bea and her bride-to-be sister, Halle (Hadley Robinson). Upon its release in December 2023, Anyone But You broke office records by grossing a whopping $219 million worldwide, a rare feat for an R-rated rom-com.


Now, Anyone But You has taken Netflix by storm by climbing straight to the #1 spot on the streamer’s Top 10 list. Thanks to its streaming status, the theatrical blockbuster can reach an even wider audience to showcase the talented cast of Anyone But You, including Mulroney. Due to his stellar performance in the movie, Dermot Mulroney’s Anyone But You role is a harsh reminder that his role on Friends was cut way too short 21 years ago.

Anyone But You
is available to stream on Netflix.


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Friends Wasted The Potential Of Dermot Mulroney’s Gavin

Mulroney Appeared In Only Three Episodes Of Season 9 As Rachel’s Love Interest

Gavin (Dermot Mulroney) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) standing on the balcony in Friends

Friends TV Series Poster

Friends

Friends is the popular sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, released back in 1994 and ran for ten seasons. The show follows a group of six twentysomethings through their lives in New York City and their time spent between their two apartments and their local coffee shop. The show features the group navigating tricky relationships with one another and comical misadventures.

Release Date
September 22, 1994

Seasons
10

In 2003, Mulroney starred in three episodes of Friends season 9 as Gavin Mitchell, Rachel’s temporary work replacement at Ralph Lauren when she took maternity leave. Gavin was introduced in episode 11, “The One Where Rachel Goes Back To Work,” when Rachel finds that he’s taken over her office. The pair initially butt heads but end up kissing on the balcony at Rachel’s birthday party in “The One With Phoebe’s Rats,” which Ross witnesses. Ultimately, Ross and Rachel’s complicated dynamic as exes, roommates, and co-parents interferes with her prospective romance with Gavin, leading his character to be written off Friends.


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Gavin didn’t necessarily have to end up with Rachel or even return for season 10, but they had palpable chemistry and
Friends
should’ve given their relationship more time to develop.

In the end, Gavin turned out to be just another plot device in Ross and Rachel’s relationship timeline on Friends, but Mulroney’s character deserved a longer run as Rachel’s love interest in Friends. Gavin’s playful arrogance kept Rachel on her toes and made him a refreshing match for her. Gavin didn’t necessarily have to end up with Rachel or even return for season 10, but they had palpable chemistry and Friends should’ve given their relationship more time to develop.

The three episodes of Friends starring Mulroney were a major highlight in the otherwise tepid season, but unfortunately, the sitcom wasted his long-term potential by never paying off his flirtation with Rachel.


Mulroney was also one of the best guest stars of Friends divisive later years. Season 9 was a major low point for the sitcom, with many fans considering the penultimate season to be the worst of Friends‘ 10-season run. The three episodes of Friends starring Mulroney were a major highlight in the otherwise tepid season, but unfortunately, the sitcom wasted his long-term potential by never paying off his flirtation with Rachel.

Friends Episodes With Dermot Mulroney as Gavin Mitchell

Season

Episode #

Episode Title

Original Air Date

9

11

“The One Where Rachel Goes Back To Work”

January 9, 2003

12

“The One with Phoebe’s Rats”

January 16, 2003

13

“The One Where Monica Sings”

January 30, 2003

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Dermot Mulroney Had A Better Romantic Role On New Girl

Mulroney Had A Recurring Role As Jess’ Love Interest Russell Schiller On New Girl

Russell and Jess on a dinner date in New Girl

Similar to Gavin in
Friends,
Mulroney’s character in New Girl served as an obstacle to the lead couple’s romantic development, although Russell posed much more of a legitimate threat to Jess and Nick’s relationship.

Almost ten years after Mulroney’s character was sidelined on Friends, the actor landed a recurring role in another hit sitcom, New Girl. Mulroney played Russell Shiller, the wealthy father of one of Jess’ students who became Jess’ love interest on New Girl. They started dating in season 1, episode 17, “Fancyman, Part 1,” until she broke up with him in episode 22, “Tomatoes.” Russell returned in season 2, episode 21, “First Date,” and appeared again in three episodes of season 7, during which he gives Jess a job and confesses his love for her as she’s about to marry Nick.


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Similar to Gavin in Friends, Mulroney’s character in New Girl served as an obstacle to the lead couple’s romantic development, although Russell posed more of a legitimate threat to Jess and Nick’s relationship. Overall, Mulroney’s recurring role on New Girl had a bigger impact on the show than his stint on Friends. Not only did he appear in more total seasons and episodes of New Girl, but his character was more memorable. New Girl still could have utilized Mulroney’s comedic talents in more episodes, but Russell fulfilled his purpose better and still made a welcome return in the final season.


New Girl Episodes With Dermot Mulroney as Russell Shiller

Season

Episode #

Episode Title

Original Air Date

1

17

“Fancyman, Part 1”

March 20, 2012

18

“Fancyman, Part 2”

March 27, 2012

20

“Normal”

April 17, 2012

22

“Tomatoes”

April 24, 2012

2

21

“First Date”

April 4, 2013

7

1

“About Three Years Later”

April 10, 2018

2

“Tuesday Meeting”

April 17, 2018

7

“The Curse of the Pirate Bride”

May 15, 2018

Anyone But You Is One Of Dermot Mulroney’s Best Roles In Years

Mulroney Returned To His Rom-Com Roots In Anyone But You


Since New Girl wrapped in 2018, Mulroney has starred in a ton of movies and TV shows. However, some of his most memorable roles from the recent past occurred just last year, including the sixth Scream movie, Scream VI, the MCU Disney+ miniseries Secret Invasion, and, above all, Anyone But You.

After gaining recognition in the genre around the time he did Friends, Anyone But You saw Mulroney returning to his rom-com roots. Anyone But You proved Mulroney still has the charisma and comedy chops to stand out onscreen in a rom-com, even in a supporting role like Leo. Although he’s now playing the father of the main character as opposed to the male lead, Anyone But You showed that Mulroney is still right at home in the rom-com genre.

Rom-Coms Starring Dermot Mulroney

Year

Role

My Best Friend’s Wedding

1997

Michael O’Neal

The Family Stone

2005

Everett Stone

The Wedding Date

2005

Nick Mercer

Christmas is Cancelled

2021

Jack LockhartMichael O’Neal


Anyone But You Movie Poster

Anyone But You

Anyone But You is a romantic comedy by director Will Gluck starring Sydney Sweeny and Glen Powell. Sweeny and Powell star as Bea and Ben, two strangers with an incredible first date that goes sour following one incident at the tail end. Thinking the worst is behind them, the two are roped into a destination wedding in Sydney, Australia, where they’ll have to pretend to be a couple despite absolutely hating each other.

Director
Will Gluck

Release Date
December 22, 2023

Cast
Sydney Sweeney , Glen Powell , Alexandra Shipp , GaTa , Hadley Robinson , Michelle Hurd , Dermot Mulroney , Darren Barnet , Rachel Griffiths

Runtime
103 minutes

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