Bob’s review published on Letterboxd:
Licorice Pizza is a kind of blending of a "coming of age" story (two, in fact) with a "will-they/won't-they" romantic pairing.
The coming-of-age portion covers Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman. She's looking to move on to a better life while he, despite being much younger than her, is much more of a person who can get things done, one who launches successful hustles throughout the film.
She seems to like him or be curious about him, on some level, but she's also inspired, in a way. She sees a path to moving forward in her life by being with him. But while he's openly into her, she plays at being disinterested, commenting on his age and giving eyes to older men. When she pushes him away, he shows his independence by moving on, generally leading to her coming back to him -- which makes him happy.
And I think that's what works best about the movie: the pairing, and the tension between them, and their characters each being a focus. Both come across as honest and sincere, and while they have great chemistry there's a real wonder if these two getting together would be right.
I enjoyed the movie, but I can't say I loved it. Once upon a time, Paul Thomas Anderson was one of my favorites. I really liked Boogie Nights, my first, and then watched Hard Eight and liked it, too. Later, Magnolia came out and I loved it, I'd call it a favorite of mine. And then came Punch-Drunk Love, which I also loved. There Will Be Blood was great, but it was also somewhat different and that caught me off guard and bumped me off my fandom a little. I saw the Master and also Inherent Vice, but thought both were just OK. I still have to see Phantom Thread.
I'd call Licorice Pizza entertaining, but not especially satisfying or special. But maybe to someone who relates more to the movie's time frame, perhaps it would resonate more thanks to the nostalgia?