Directed by Natalie Morales and written by Joshua Levy and Prathiksha Srinivasan, following a straight-laced high school student and her slacker best friend who, after a regrettable first sexual encounter, have 24 hours to hunt down a Plan B pill in America’s heartland. Starring: Kuhoo Verma, Victoria Moroles, Michael Provost, Mason Cook, Edi Patterson, Myha’la Herrold, Jolly Abraham and Jacob Vargas.
Watching a teen film is always a roll of the dice, it could hit all the usual expectations in a cheesy, fun way or it could be utterly drab and predictable, or in rare cases it can actually surprise you, which is the case with Plan B. That’s not to say it’s reinventing the wheel of teen cinema, it ticks plenty of your usual boxes with its character types and dynamics but it’s willing to go outside of those boxes with its humour. One of the strongest things about it is that it doesn’t keep things too PG, it throws in an unexpected edge, it embraces the new wave of female-led comedies that aren’t afraid to get a little messy. It still has the right amount of awkward and silly but also feels more confident and blunt at times with its comedy. Their adventure to avoid possible pregnancy has the classic twists and turns, throwing some challenges at them and interesting cameos, it does however start to lose its steam as it enters the final chapter but it recovers before the credits role.
The key to this story is the friendship between Sunny (Verma) and Lupe (Moroles), they’re a very typical pair of nerdy vs free spirit but they don’t feel generic at all. Verma and Moroles have a brilliant chemistry, they play off each other extremely well, the relationship has all the elements you’d expect but in a good way. Their performances are equally good but each get to veer off and tackle their own issues, Verma’s is much more in the traditional insecure, naïve teen trying to get a grip on emotional and physical maturity arena. Moroles gets to go down a more modern route, which is difficult to explore without spoiling anything but to keep it simple, it’s surprisingly sweet and vulnerable. There’s also a tonne of great cameos here including Jay Chandrasekhar as the morally objective pharmacist who won’t give Sunny the pill, Edi Patterson as the cooky gas station attendant, Myha’la Herrold as Logan and Michael Provost as the classic teen crush for Sunny.
Morales’s directorial style gives off a strong vibe of making the kind of film she wishes would have been around when she was younger, there’s a huge nod to the 80s and 90s throughout the entire film which feels like a good blast of nostalgia. Especially in opening with the song ‘Everyone’s a Winner’ by Hot Chocolate and there’s a fantastic use of music throughout which gives a similar fun, throwback atmosphere. The feel of the film is modern, new but reflecting the styles used in recent comedies which keeps it moving at a good pace. Immediate comparisons to Booksmart would miss the mark slightly, it plays closer to 21 Jump Street, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist or even We’re the Millers. However, there is a huge irony to be found in how the whole story could be avoided if the girls learned how to use google properly and weren’t sent in such a wrong direction.
Plan B is delightfully unexpected, cute and sweet but with an edge. Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles make a fun duo, their characters may not be brand new but the chemistry they have more than makes up for that. The writing takes a few chances to stray outside of the usual teen fare and that truly pays off for more memorable viewing and Morales’s direction feels new but with a touch of throwback to classic teen movies. Creating something that’s genuinely entertaining, that holds your attention throughout and leaves you feeling like you’d definitely watch it again, is rare in modern comedy but Plan B does exactly that.