Written by: Prathi Srinivasan & Joshua Levy
Starring: Kuhoo Verma, Victoria Moroles, Michael Provost, Mason Cook, Jolly Abraham, Jacob Vargas
Access to reproductive products in a country where they are legal should not come with the complications that exist in this nation. A complete embarrassment but something that remains the reality of making it difficult for individuals who need it from actually accessing it. Plan B shows how arduous this journey can be as a young woman tries to be cautious in regard to her future being impacted.
After having her first sexual experience, the day after, Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) sees the filled condom fall out of her. In her attempts to get a Plan B pill just in case, she and her friend, Lupe (Victoria Morales) go on a quest to find one even through seedy sources outlining their desperation.
Coming as a beautiful mix of a more graphic Booksmart and Unpregnant, this feature combines the wild nature of the former and a similar quest of the latter but told through the vision of someone as wonderful as Natalie Morales. What more could one ask for? With these comparisons to phenomenal films, Plan B etches its own stylization to this genre of teenage girls taking back their right to reproductive products, which should not be as difficult as shown in this feature. The major issue causing this whole trip comes from the regional enforcement of federal law. Sure, getting Plan B should be simple for anyone who needs it but backwards laws allowing pharmacists to deny the sale simply because they do not believe in it puts young women at the whims of whoever feels nice to them at the moment. Infuriating to think about, but it sets up this time crunch for these two teenagers to find the correct remedy and unleash this fun plot.
As with any road trip movie, no matter the distance, the key lies in the friendship at the core of it to pass the time of the driving and the runtime of the feature. Luckily we get the delightful pairing of Lupe and Sunny who bring so much fun energy to this story. While the potential consequences should they fail could be detrimental to the future Sunny envisioned for herself, the plot is ever-so-slightly a bit tamer than other films tackling the same issue. The raising of the stakes, however, comes from the cultural significance of getting pregnant so young. Sunny comes from an Asian background and Lupe comes from a Latine one, which have different attitudes towards this subject matter. Watching this narrative play out shines a light on how these stories hitting the mainstream usually focus on white teenagers and how their experiences differ greatly from what gets covered in this film. A step in the right direction for representation and it allows the emotional points of this film to land poignantly with audience members being seen through this particular narrative.
The way this feature definitely stands out goes from how graphic it gets with its comedy. With it talking about Sunny’s sexual experience, they really go there with some of the trials and tribulations they undertake. One particular scene held in a park will be etched in my brain for longer than I would ever want as a male. A scene that had the potential to be particularly dark but then in a second jumps to the insane in the flip of a switch. Something this film does on several occasions throughout the feature and the roller coaster of emotion it takes us on most certainly got me every single time. This film has a strong balance of navigating these aspects of the narrative and becomes one of its most defining elements.
2021 has proven to be quite the banner year for Natalie Morales as she crafts this wonderfully entertaining ride of a teenage story and then Language Lessons, which holds a special place in my heart as well. She proves she can navigate in different styles and her ability to capture such emotionally potent moments within comedies demonstrates she’s a wonderful talent to continue to look out for as a director. Her directorial voice sticks out in a wonderful manner and I know I can look forward to whatever she does next because it will definitely have a personality while also hitting you right in the feels as well.
Plan B certainly feels familiar with this premise but it remains unique in the perspective it tells its story through. Having characters from Asian and Latine descent take on this ever-present issue for teenagers and young women adds a new layer to the story definitely worth exploring. The gloriously graphic level of humor on display makes for such a memorable experience in not the most comfortable of ways. A completely wild, fun, and emotionally potent viewing experience and certainly one with plenty to enjoy for so many reasons.