by George Wolf
Even before theaters shut down, there was no shortage of solid R-rated comedies getting woefully ignored. One of those was the wonderful Booksmart – which put a female friendship at the center of a Superbad-type coming-of-age romp.
Hulu’s Plan B takes the Booksmart model, mixes in some trusty road movie hijinx and even more sexual honesty than Blockers to concoct a teen sex comedy with plenty of smarts and sustained laughs.
South Dakota teens Lupe (Victoria Moroles) and Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) are best friends on slightly different social levels. The confident, outgoing Lupe is, ahem, “dating,” while the reserved Sunny has zero prospects and just pines for her crush to come over for a “Disney Plus and thrust.”
But then Sunny’s Mom goes out of town, so party! After Lupe’s cheery advice to “make good choices!” an impatient Sunny wants to get it over with already, leading to a very awkward bathroom hookup and an unfortunate condom accident.
Trading puke buckets and talking it over the next morning, the girls decide the best thing to do is get Sunny the morning after pill. This turns out to be a lot harder than they expect.
Moroles and Verma are both terrific, each finding distinct ways to give their characters authentic levels of the angst, curiosity, self-doubt and cautious confidence that are perpetually bouncing off teenage walls.
Once the search for Plan B involves a road trip to Rapid City, the script from Joshua Levy and Prathiksha Srinivasan delivers welcome surprises alongside inspired silliness and moments of outright hilarity (like the bit about Footloose and a doll museum).
There are some dry stretches along the way, but director Natalie Morales shows good instincts for when to pivot, and for making sure this teen sex comedy ends up speaking to some mighty serious issues.
So expect Rachel Dratch teaching abstinence by way of driver’s ed, but also young women exploring their sexuality amid an onslaught of mixed messages, double standards and threats to their freedom of choice.
Don’t let the dick jokes fool ya, there’s heart and brains here, too, and a sweet friendship illustrating the importance of unconditional love from your family, as well as the ones that feel like family.
And also dick jokes.