‘Plan B’ review: Hulu’s charming entry into the Canon BFF road trip
Imagine “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” or “Unpregnant” with a sizzling twist and a pair of comedic performances.
Two is a coincidence and three is a trend – and that includes the burgeoning genre of road trip films about teenage best friends dealing with reproductive health. Natalie Morales’ “Plan B” joins up with Eliza Hittman’s bright “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and Rachel Lee Goldenberg’s cheeky “Unpregnant” and, like those films, follows a pair of best friends who are forced to fend for themselves. in a world that doesn’t. t value girls or their medical autonomy. Much like âUnpregnantâ in particular, âPlan Bâ mixes true humor with uncomfortable truths about the current state of sexual health in America, though it doesn’t hammer its realities as harshly as its predecessors.
Best friends Lupe (Victoria Moroles) and Sunny (Kuhoo Verma in a comedy trick) both come from close âtraditionalâ families – Sunny is convinced that the âIndian Mafiaâ accounts for their every move to her bossy mother, Lupe’s Mexican-American clan is decidedly church-centric – and one of the few people of color in a small, extremely white town in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota. They’re both a little bit crazy about sex (hey, puberty turns out weird and hormones are very real), with the more experienced Lupe struggling in a sexting relationship with the mysterious Logan, while that the more reserved Sunny is nursing an adult. crush on the local cutie Hunter.
None of their families are interested in having real conversations about sex, and their home economics teacher (Rachel Dratch in a small role) is tasked with teaching them abstinence and nothing else. What’s a girl – a real classic teenage girl with red blood and hormones – to do? At least they are.
Boned out of many teenage movie stories and stunned by the blind luck of Sunny’s mother being out of town for the weekend, Sunny and Lupe choose to start a wrath, in the hopes that Logan and Hunter will all be out of town for the weekend. both present. and keep up with the darling best friends during the night’s festivities. What could possibly go wrong? After hearing mean girls call her preppy dress look more of a âhuge American Girlâ than a cool teenager, Sunny goes for a quick makeover, including a handmade thong. Painfully honest virginity loss session later, and the movie finds Sunny and Lupe in need of a different kind of diversion: how the hell can they get a Plan B pill before it’s too late for Sunny shocked?
âPlan Bâ finds its drama in bizarre loopholes and stupid state laws. Sunny and Lupe are denied the pill because they are underage and in South Dakota like many states – and it’s true! – allow its pharmacists to invoke a âconscience clauseâ when it comes to distributing emergency contraceptives to anyone under the age of 18. (Basically they can refuse it depending on how they Feel About the situation.) A bad pharmacy later, the girls drove to the nearest Planned Parenthood, setting off a wacky and scorching road trip with real stakes.
While “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and “Not Pregnant” have dug deeper into the very real ramifications of such laws, “Plan B” is less adept at weaving its on-screen hijinks together with real-world implications. Instead, he often sneaks into scorching, wild subplots that wouldn’t feel out of place in a movie with less important issues in mind. There’s a streak that involves a pierced appendix that would likely make every MPAA scoring board member scream, as well as a number of illicit drug subplots, and while those are all quite funny, they tend to be scanned as coming from a different type of film.
The film is Morales’ second directorial outing in less than six months: she previously directed the pandemic-produced “Language Lessons,” which she co-wrote and starred with independent mainstay Mark Duplass. The same sense of intimacy and warmth that has run through this feature is present in âPlan B,â which often swaps those oversized comedic gags for moments built on close character interactions. These are the times when âPlan Bâ really seems to work its magic.
Joshua Levy’s and Prathiksha Srinivasan’s screenplay offers predictable rhythms and unexpected pleasures in equal measure; it’s inevitable that something will happen to force Sunny and Lupe into a fight, but âPlan Bâ tackles that much-needed beat with rare honesty and genuine laughs. Verma and Moroles are a formidable duo, mismatched best friends with real chemistry and obvious affection for each other, and Verma’s insane comedic timing in particular helps move the film forward even when it threatens to stall. as he switches between wacky comedy and the character’s key moments.
It’s not really a good sign that the current state of dismal reproductive health rules and regulations in the United States, as well as the fact that young women continue to not be able to make their own choices, could inspire three films with roughly the same plot in less than 18 months. . But it’s also exciting to see the filmmakers contextualize these issues in human terms, and âPlan Bâ excels in entertainment as well as advocacy. As it turns out, that also includes a pierced penis as a point of hysterical intrigue, and it’s exactly that degree of sizzling released that makes it worthy of celebration.
âPlan Bâ begins airing on Hulu on Friday, May 28.