Road trip stories have an opportunity to do so much. They can include a coming-of-age talelike Dutch or horror like The Hitcher. The pivotal ingredient is we need to care about the lead/s, not necessarily positively. We can, after all, watch a film hoping for a horrendous character’s demise. Either way, we have to care. Plan B, written by Joshua Levy and Prathiksha Srinivasan, directed by Natalie Morales, effectively gets us cheering for Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) and Lupe (Victoria Moroles) on their quest to find the morning after pill. The characters are complex, the story engaging, and the trip is like the road trip from hell sans stalky serial killer.
Sunny is a teen who lives up to her mother’s expectations regarding school, conduct, and style. But Sunny also struggles because her mother stifles her when she should have the freedom to discover herself. Lupe is similarly hiding but challenges her father’s expectations when possible. These best friends are ride or die and, if we are lucky, we have or had a friend like that. When Sunny has sex for the first time, with protection, but realizes the condom came off inside her during sex, they head to the pharmacy for the Plan B pill. When the “why does he have that job,” pharmacist declines to give Sunny the Plan B pill. So the adventure begins in earnest.
The perspective is from Sunny and Lupe and doesn’t falter. That’s precisely why the film is comical. It’s a female-centered gaze around interactions with others, particularly guys. We care about Sunny, who is trying to live life when the situation goes awry. We’ve been in those awkward conversations. We’ve been in moments where we have to hide or dim parts of ourselves due to fear or exhaustion. We’ve had raunchy jokes, embarrassing moments, and times of gravity.
Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles are dynamite together. They show strength but don’t allow that to be all there is to the characters. They portray the same joy, hope, and fears we all experience. Hats off to the dialogue in Plan B! The mix of comedy and drama is well-balanced. Their acting illustrates their ability to handle comedy and drama with ease. When scenes head toward a moment that screams danger for our leads, it veers seamlessly back into comedic territory, and we laugh in discomfort and relief. A laugh that is familiar to us already because of uncomfortable moments with determined men.
Plan B is a comedy, but through a current issue regarding women and nonbinary’s autonomy over their bodies. So it blends humor with the ridiculousness of strangers—from the government to the pharmacist—choosing what we do with our bodies and becomes more. Is the amount of tribulations they encounter in their road trip search inane? Yes. Similar to how foolish it is to think anyone has the right to dictate to women what they can do with their own body.
The best comedies are the ones that showcase the absurdity that we see in the world. So laugh and find joy in it, but also stand up for our rights. No one should go through this, and the reality won’t be nearly as entertaining or comical.