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‘Plan B’ is a winning bestie road trip adventure: Movie review

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It’s not summer movie season until we get a good old-fashioned teen comedy, and Hulu’s Plan B is here to kick things off. Natalie Morales’ directorial debut is a road movie with a kind heart, excellent leads, and plenty of laugh-out-loud debauchery.

After having sex at a house party, perennial good girl Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) needs the morning after pill, but is denied purchase by a pharmacy’s conscience clause (a real thing!). She and mischievous best friend Lupe (Victoria Moroles) take on the three-hour drive to the nearest Planned Parenthood before Sunny’s window for taking the pill closes. 

There’s a refreshing authenticity in Prathi Srinivasan and Joshua Levy’s endearing script. This is not a capital-F film about a capital-I Indian teen having capital-S sex and going on a trip with her capital-L Latina bestie. Plan B achieves the hallowed representational benchmark of honoring two leads of color in three dimensions, and does so without divorcing them from their cultures or constantly putting identity at the forefront. Even the best portrayals can miss this mark, so it’s worth celebrating. 

Lupe’s bravado is a front for grief and anxiety, while Sunny is insecure not about her looks or character, but her inexperience. The nerdy, sexless Asian teen has been the butt of too many jokes on and off-screen, but the intellectually confident version with a sex drive to boot is far more compelling (see also: Blockers). 

'Plan B' is a delightful joyride for best friends everywhere

Image: brett roedel / HULU

Plan B is not your typical high school movie, in that it spends little time on the girls’ school life and classmates. The casually racist mean girls never get their comeuppance and there are no academic or social milestones for the girls to scale in their journey. This movie is about two friends solidifying their love through a series of bizarre vignettes, from a gas station encounter with an eccentric clerk (Edi Patterson) to a shady transaction in a public park, a concert at a bowling alley, a party, and a fight.

Even without the strongest foundation, Plan B is a delightful joyride. The jokes are weirdly specific and infinitely funnier for it. Morales plays with different styles, including a party time lapse, car singalong montage, and obligatory drug trip — none too overbearing but still enjoyable. The twists are small, speedy, and satisfying, shocking either the audience or characters as the road trip extends from day to night and back again.

It’s a star making turn for Verma, best known until now for a small part in 2017’s The Big Sick. Her eyes have more comedic range than most actors on their best day, deployed in full force for joke after joke with renewed hilarity each time. She and Moroles share a wondrous chemistry; even though Sunny is the de facto straight guy, she’s responsible for their entire wacky escapade and the actors constantly subvert their expected dynamic. They also shine in more vulnerable individual moments, with crushes and parents and eventually with each other. 

Plan B is a movie for when you miss shenanigans, when you know only your best and weirdest friend can help you through the night or when you don’t quite fit in, but know your time will come. It’s a lovingly weird adventure from powerhouse creatives of color, and it’s just the beginning.

Plan B is now streaming on Hulu.

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