A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Plus One is a funny and wise contemporary romantic comedy. Ben and Alice, good friends since college, make a pact to be one another's "plus one" at the many spring and summer weddings they know they'll be invited to attend. It's a can't lose situation -- no awkward singles tables, no fixups, and they'll each be free to check out the room with no ties that bind. The language is racy throughout the movie, including "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," "vagina," "ass," "t-ts," "d--k," "boner," and "penis." There are kisses, sexual references, sounds of pornography coming from an off-screen television, and a young man and woman engage in foreplay, start to undress, and begin to have sex. Characters drink alcoholic beverages in multiple scenes; in some they get tipsy or drunk and a woman vomits. Marijuana is used and it's implied that a group of senior men might ingest a hallucinogen. Recommended for older teens who are fans of relatable, thoughtful, and playful romcoms.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ben (Jack Quaid) and Alice (Maya Erskine) have a great relationship in PLUS ONE. They're friends, good friends, since college. They're comfortable together; they can be themselves. Ben finds Alice's brashness fun. Alice finds Ben's acceptance of her unfiltered behavior reassuring. So it's without a lot of reflection that they find a way to negotiate the myriad weddings they know they'll each be invited to by becoming one another's "plus one." It's wedding season, after all. And it works, for a while, until one celebration finds them just drunk enough, and just free enough, to spend the night together. They try to quash it, forget it ever happened. And, that too, works for a while, until the prospect of being a couple becomes appealing, nice, and actually quite wonderful. After all, love based on friendship, acceptance, and joy in one another's company is the best! At least, until it isn't.
Is it any good?
Director-writers Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer make a dazzling debut in their first feature film with strong characters, a brash look at traditional romance, and as many touching moments as funny ones. Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid have terrific chemistry, and while Erskine's performance is the showier one -- and she is sensational -- Jack Quaid holds his own, delivering nuance and heart. Supporting characters are uniformly wonderful, with Rosalind Chao as a stand-out. Plus One is breezy and inventive, and while the bones of the story may be formulaic, the execution never feels tired. A welcome treat in the continuing onslaught of by-the-numbers romcoms finding their way to home screens in recent months.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about drinking and drunkenness in Plus One. Is it a relevant element in the story? Why or why not? Does the movie glorify the behavior? What consequences, if any, do the characters pay for their excess?
Narrative movies are either plot-driven, action-driven, or character-driven. Which category best describes Plus One? Explain your answer.
At what point did you know how the movie would turn out? Even when a movie is predictable, the journey that its characters take can make it enjoyable and rewarding. What elements made Plus One special even if you could predict the ending?
In well-written movies every scene -- no matter how small -- is designed to move the story forward. How did the sequence in which Alice and Ben spend time with Alice's family move this film forward?
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