• Zach Youngs

Movie Review: Plan B

Plan B is about Sunny, a smart, high school student with an overbearing Indian mother, and Lupe, a closeted high school student with a strict Latino father. The two of them decide enough is enough and they're going to throw a party while Sunny's mom is out of town. Sunny's plan is to get to know her crush, Hunter, better, but the night takes a turn and she ends up having sex. While the sex is protected, the condom was improperly attached and stayed in her all night. The women go on a quest to get the Morning After/Plan B pill in a state that allows pharmacists to refuse to sell it on religious grounds. The film stars Kuhoo Verma, Victoria Moroles, Jacob Vargas, Jolly Abraham, Michael Provost, Mason Cook, Gus Birney, Hana Hayes, Myha'la Herrold, Edi Patterson, Moses Storm, Rachel Dratch, and Jay Chandrasekhar. The film is written by Joshua Levy and Prathiksha Srinivasan and is directed by Natalie Morales. The film is streaming exclusively on Hulu.

Is this film incredibly similar to a film that came out on another streaming service at nearly the same time last year? Yes. Does it reinforce what are now established tropes in this kind of comedy? Yes. Does it still infuriate me that a woman can't have autonomy over her reproductive system in many instances because men, and the women they've brainwashed, have decided to impose their will and twisted morality over everyone else? Fuck yes it does. Is this still a hilarious romp that also yanks hard at our heart strings? Yes, yes, yes.

The other key difference between Plan B and other films like it is that these are women of color who are only second or third generation American. While they have assimilated and built their own tastes apart from their parents, they still face the casual racism of majority white spaces. Lupe doesn't shave her armpits and is asked if it's a Mexican thing. One of the boys from school when walking into Sunny's house for the party remarks that it doesn't smell like curry. Poor, well-meaning Kyle just doesn't realize that by exaggerating the differences, he's making it worse.

Plan B also dips into some other dark corners. At one point Sunny and Lupe are harassed at a gas station by two men who obviously have no desire to do anything, but abuse them. They may be silly rednecks, but the danger is still felt. The same can be said when Sunny and Lupe attempt to buy the pill from a drug dealer and he asks for oral sex in lieu of payment. They also find horror when attempting to get their car keys from a man tripping hard on meth.

Director Natalie Morales has found a great balance in these scenes. She and cinematographer Sandra Valde-Hansen found just the right tone in the climax of the action. There's a beautiful scene in the finale where Sunny and Lupe have just completed their journey, they've found each other again and it all comes crashing down. It may have felt maudlin, but Morales and Valde-Hansen keep the shot and linger for just the right amount of time to make it a truly affecting scene.

What's also just right are the relationships between the parents and the teens. I also, as you no doubt understand from your years of reading my reviews, love a great and complicated, but deeply felt friendship. Plus, there's the wonderful queer story line. Yet, what I think surprised me the most about this film and what I desperately want to keep happening in teen films are the hunky, dorky, sensitive boys. Hunter is a genuine nerd with a brain and conscience. There's a beautiful scene where he just listens to Sunny tell her truth. Please, let's have more good examples of teen men in media!

Plan B couldn't work without the terrific chemistry of its two leads. Victoria Moroles plays that prickly, closeted, desperately sensitive, give no fucks persona so well. She has an expressive face and a terrific, intuitive timing. Kuhoo Verma plays the neurotic, people pleasing, hyper intelligent, but desperately horny persona so well. She is incredibly funny and an actress with the instinct to know when to play it straight. Together they're so believable and electric. I want them to continue working together as a duo, but they're so good they can lead anything they want to.

I really love a comedy that has a beating and bloody heart. I also love a comedy that has a message that our society and our country desperately needs to rethink our priorities. Plan B is a terrific film that's raucously funny and lovingly rendered. Check it out and start your summer viewing off right.

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