Director: Jeff Chan, Andrew Rhymer
Writers: Jeff Chan, Andrew Rhymer

Stars: Maya Erskine, Jack Quaid
Release Date: June 24, 2019

Take a stereotypical Netflix romantic comedy and upgrade it substantially and you have Plus One. A simple, down to earth story steps on all the familiar trademarks yet doesn’t become hampered down by the normalcy. Due in large part to the strong performance of Jack Quaid and remarkable showing by Maya Erskine, Plus One is a romantic comedy to be recommended to anyone in need of a 90-minute escape from reality.

Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid) are both in their mid-upper 20s and attempting to survive the onslaught of weddings that happen around such a time. Firmly established in the friend zone, the longtime single friends agree to be each other’s plus one at every summer wedding they’ve been invited to.

Erksine is the shining star of Plus One. The way she is written by directors and writers Jeff Chan and Andrew Whymer is witty, dark and deeply personable. She is unfiltered in what she says and the way she expresses her love for Ben both as a friend and boyfriend is relatable in many levels. After the pair finally acknowledge what is happening between them, Alice shows her love willingly and lets her personality flow even more. And that TERRIFIES Ben…and me.

Ben is single lad who is both longing and fearful of being loved. He has no idea how to respond to affection and when things get to real his first reaction is to run away. Ben feels like everything needs to be perfect, despite being told countless times by friends that there is no such thing. It only comes after he has messed up and slammed into countless dead ends around every romantic corner. (I am in no describing myself, nope, no way I connect to this on murmurous levels)

Plus One touches on a late-20 person’s fears of love. It shines a light on insecurities, unsureness and lack of self believe. Alice’s personality is to attack it and play with it. It’s as if the anxiety of love is a full course meal, and Alice mixes the corn, mashed potatoes and barbeque sauce together into a concoction and forces feeds it “airplane” style to Ben. Ben wants to run away because he doesn’t like how it looks, despite enjoying all the aspects of whatever meal-mash is being served up.

Chan and Rhymer’s screenplay is filled with charm, and not only from its major characters. Beck Bennett plays Matt, one of Ben’s best friends, and gives one of the most realistic friend “You F’d Up” speeches I’ve heard in a long time. Throw in Ben’s father, Alice’s parents and the hilarious gay couple; everyone in Plus One knows the vibe they are meant to play.

One nit-pick I have, if ever so small, is how awesome all these weddings look. Credit to cinematographer Guy Godfree for getting beautiful sceneries in so many different environments. I just have to wonder how all of these 20-year-olds can afford some of these venues (I know this it nit-picky!).

Also on a personal level, I hate bad wedding speeches. Cringe level 1000. And there are a few in Plus One, done purposely of course, but still tough to stomach for your boy.

Plus One is a truly fantastic romantic comedy. It is the best I have seen in a long time, most likely since Your Sister’s Sister (2012). Erksine gives a knockout performance, and Quaid is able to match all her emotional punches. Find it wherever you can and give it a whirl. It is well worth your while.

Plus One won the Audience Awards at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival for Narrative.

STANKO RATING: B+ (4.0/5 Stars)

“Plus One” IMDB
“Plus One” Rotten Tomatoes

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