The comedy Plan B hits the road with a pair of young women as they scour the South Dakota badlands for a morning-after pill. If Plan A is not getting pregnant, Plan B is… you follow.
Lupe (Victoria Moroles) and Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) are two smart, funny, best buds from strict families – Lupe’s is Hispanic and her father’s a minister, Sunny’s is Asian, with all the educational expectation that typically comes with. Of the two Lupe is the more sexually knowing – she wears vampish dark lipstick – though it’s Sunny who we first encounter thrusting her hand down her pants as she settles down with a school biology textbook and the chapter on the male anatomy.
When they talk, Lupe and Sunny pepper their conversation with phrases like “doggy style” and “reverse cowgirl” without being entirely sure what they mean. They talk like guys in movies like this usually talk. All mouth and no trousers, to use the British phrase.
We shift from setup to the meat of the movie when Sunny kind of accidentally has sex with someone she shouldn’t have – someone who instantly regrets it and who may well in later life remember this as the only sexual encounter he ever had with a girl. For Sunny there could be consequences too, thanks to a botched condom arrangement which only comes to light the morning after.
And off Lupe and Sunny go on their quest, borrowing Sunny’s mother’s car and putting on hold temporarily their plans to get into the pants of hot guys Hunter and Logan. They’re always called Hunter and Logan.
A “bad night out” road/coming of age comedy ensues, with Sunny and Lupe meeting one whacked-out individual after another – the antsy chemist, the dizzy gas station cashier, the lairy rednecks, the speedy drug dealer with a special piercing, the spaced-out party host – in sketch-style encounters linked by Moroles and Verma, who work well as a duo, are believable as adventurers on the journey into adulthood and likeable enough to keep the sympathy with them as they share scenes with comedy performers who know how to work the room.
The energy is Disney Kids gone bad, with zippety-zip repartee delivered in a bright and lively way by Moroles and Verma even as the world around them gets darker. At one point they go to a party that’s clearly a proper drugs party and, if you’ve ever been to one, it looks about right.
Throughout, though there are two young women on the screen, what you can hear is two guys (Joshua Levy, Prathiksha Srinivasan) shouting lines at each other in the writers room, each trying to make the other laugh, laughter from a comedy writer not being exactly the same as laughter from an audience. They’re funny lines but they don’t feel like they’re coming from Sunny and Lupe. I refer the jury at this point to exhibit A – the dick-sucking dialogue.
In fact it would be a better film if it wasn’t trying so hard to be a comedy and instead punched up the sweetness of the two lead characters, who are decent people slightly adrift in an unexpected world of jeopardy.
There have been a few films of this sort recently – Unpregnant, which contains the same “shock” reveal about one of the young women, and Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which worked the same idea in an entirely uncomedic (and far more rewarding) way.
But at bottom Plan B probably wants to be Booksmart – two funny, clever and likeable young women on a wild night of escalating madness – but that position, unfortunately, has already been taken.
© Steve Morrissey 2021