What I did like about Plus One are the set ups from director/writers Jeff Chan & Andrew Rhymer. Each new wedding begins with the best man or maid of honor speech, some embarrassing, some funny, and others heartfelt. It creates a nice place setting as Ben and Alice go from wedding to wedding. In between, we are spending time with the two leads, Ben feeling neurotic about his inability to find that special someone and Alice hiding her insecurities by cracking jokes about Ben. The two of them make an adorable pair, sometimes hooking up with other wedding guests, sometimes sleeping in a hotel together, licking their wounds, but always keeping things friendly because they don't want to screw up what they have. My guess, just as you did, is that you can see how this movie is going to end.
That is the major problem with Plus One. There has been a recent boom of romantic comedies, with the arrival of films such as Crazy Rich Asians, Always be my Maybe, and The Big Sick, all making box-office records. But those films grasped a freshness that this kind of genre needed, with a cast that felt real, had a diversity we rarely see, and an unpredictable narrative. Plus One is extremely basic, where we know the two friends should be dating, we know they will eventually come around to one another, and even if there is a few obstacles that might shift our thinking, the writers don't have the courage to give us an ending where they don't. Maybe those are issues on my end, but shouldn't the audience crave a movie that isn't this predictable?
On the positive side, Plus One has two rising stars in Quaid and Erskine. There is a confidence in Quaid that feels worthy of moving on to bigger roles, maybe playing a sidekick in a blockbuster. However, it is Erskine that is the major star. She is equally parts funny and kind, carrying a comedic timing that is not just reading the script. She is sharper than other actors, that's for sure. It's just sad that directors Chan and Rhymer are more interested in letting the two ramble the contrived dialogue instead of giving them something with more substance.
The final result is a movie that has enough charm to keep you interested and then you sail away into a land of predictability. A romantic comedy like Plus One has been made a dozen times before and will be made a dozen times after. The actors and directors involved will move on to better material, better movies. For now they are just waiting at the alter.
Written by: Leo Brady
MOVIE: PLUS ONE
STARRING: JACK QUAID; MAYA ERSKINE; ED BEGLEY JR.; BECK BENNETT
DIRECTED BY: JEFF CHAN; ANDREW RHYMER
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
Plus One is a rom-com that surprisingly won the audience award at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. It's no question that fans found the film to be delightful and charming, but it is a shock to me, because as far as movies go, they do not get more conventional than this. Ben (played by Jack Quaid- son of Dennis Quaid & Meg Ryan) is a bachelor stuck in bachelorhood. His best friend is Alice (Maya Erskine) and the two have a bond that is self evident in their ability to pick on one another. The plot of Plus One is that Ben & Alice each have a lot of weddings to attend this year, so instead of going the depressing solo route, the two decide to take each other as their dates. Of course there is a romantic connection that eventually bubbles up, but the question is can the two stay friends? Plus One is the romantic comedy narrative we have seen before and it is exactly why it's best to RSVP no to this wedding.