‘Are you still single?’, ‘Not yet married?’ and ‘When are you finally going to have kids?’ are just a few questions people seem to ask more once you’re getting older.
While you might be focusing on work, travelling or just doing what you want, you’ll feel some sort of pressure from society. Even more so when your close friends and family members are getting married and you’re still sitting at the singles table.
Well, these are just some of the ‘problems’ longtime friends Ben and Alice are facing in “Plus One”, the debut film from writers/directors Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer. The movie is certainly not groundbreaking or rule-changing when it comes to romantic comedies but it still a very enjoyable way.
Ben (Jack Quaid) and Alice (Maya Erskine) finding themselves in a hotel room is something they’re very familiar with. However, not in the way you think. As they reach a certain age when people are getting married, they’re invited to many weddings all over the world.
We get to meet them on the big day of Ben’s Matt (Beck Bennett) and Amanda (Jessy Hodges). While Ben is delivering his best man’s speech, Alice is discovering the wonderful wedding catering which results in many drunk and awkward moments.
The evening seems to go way better for Ben when he meets his old flame Jess (Brianne Howey) again and when they’re having a great time. However, that time is abruptly coming to an end when Ben goes for ‘that kiss’. One that wasn’t mean to happen in the first place because of Jess’s engagement.
Starting to notice that everyone around him is getting married, including his divorced dad (Ed Begley Jr.), Ben realizes that he can’t stay single forever. Especially when he has so many weddings to attend in the upcoming months.
Alice has just split with her boyfriend but she also needs someone to get her through all those wedding invitations. The two friends are making a pact: They will be each others’ plus one for every wedding they have to attend.
Having to deal with flying the world to make their friends happy and seeing couples madly being in love always goes better with two. But when you’re being surrounded by romance, love, and weddings every day of the week, this will certainly have an impact on your own life. Which impact will it have on the lives of these close two friends?
Well, you already know that. As writers, Chan and Rhymer didn’t write an original script. For that, the story is just packed with too many clichés.
Friends having a massive regret after a drunk night out, having an extremely heated argument about what they mean to each other or having to handle the nosy friends and family, it’s all in “Plus One”. Despite the many predictable moments, the movie is still a wonderful one to watch.
That mostly because of the truly special performance of Maya Erskine. For those of you who have seen her in “PEN15”, you know that she’s extremely capable of bringing wonderful humour to the screen. That also exactly what she does in this movie.
With her fantastic timing and brilliant on-screen presence, she puts a big smile on our face on many pleasant occasions. Whether it’s as the drunk Alice embarrassing herself in the worst way possible or as the headstrong character giving a powerful speech about her future, Erskine delivers it with such flair.
Opposite her, we see Quaid (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, “Logan Lucky”) as the dorkier, loving but also ‘desperate for love’ Ben. While Erskine overclasses Quaid during the more humouristic and witty moments, Quaid excels in the more sweet, romantic and heartwarming scenes.
They always say that total opposites attract each other and that’s both the case when it comes to the character as well as the actors portraying then. This results in marvellous on-screen chemistry, which makes this movie very believable and recognisable.
That element of recognisability isn’t only present in this film because of the genuine friendship between the leads but also because of the moments Chan and Rhymer created. Yes, they might have used many clichés but those feel very familiar. You might have sat at the singles table yourself.
We’ve all got dating advice from friends and family more than we want. Don’t get us started on the awkward romantic moments whether it’s with old lovers or potentially new ones. The women amongst us will feel extremely connected to Alice and men have been in Ben’s shoes more than once.
What makes from “Plus One” a pleasant one for the eye is the cinematography by Guy Godfree (“The Parting Glass”, “Maudie”). There’s no usage of special effects, too explosive shots or unrealistic scenes. No, it’s just back to the basics. He makes it feels like you’re with the leading characters during their many weddings. John Daigle’s (“How to Be a Latin Lover”) fabulous editing skills heighten that realistic feeling even more.
If you want to see a romcom with many surprises and unique elements to it, then “Plus One” isn’t the movie for you. There’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to the script itself as everything goes the usual way.
However, the amusing and uplifting leading performances, the highly recognisable moments and the very welcoming cinematography will make from “Plus One” a film you will certainly enjoy.
7th February 2020
THE QUICK SELL
In order to survive a summer of wedding fever, longtime single friends, Ben and Alice, agree to be each other's plus one at every wedding they've been invited to.