Ben Peyton reviews new digital flick, Plus One
Plus One (15)
Directors: Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer
Starring: Jack Quaid, Maya Erskine, Ed Begley Jr and Perrey Reeves
Long term friends Ben and Alice (Quaid and Erskine) find themselves slap-bang in the middle of wedding season, single and both working through some personal issues. Ben’s looking for love, but is unnecessarily picky when it comes to the type of girl he dates, whilst Alice is repairing her broken heart from the break-up of a long-term relationship and is determined to drink away her unhappy memories.
With a whopping 10 weddings to attend between them (that’s some impressive social circles they have), including Ben’s father’s (Begley Jr) third to a much younger fiancée (Reeves), they agree to be each other’s plus one and navigate their way through the different challenges that each wedding brings.
In their first feature film, writers and directors Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer create some nifty tracking shots through the various ceremonies and have assembled a colourful bunch of characters in supporting roles. With astute observations, we see glimpses of speeches, some successful, some awkward, but all recognisable to anyone that’s ever attended more than one wedding themselves. Their razor-sharp script deftly brings to life all the nervous excitement and uncomfortable small-talk used as a room full of family and friends, often meeting for the first time and destined to never see one another again, share their stories about how they know the happy couple.
With parents sporting several rom-com hits to their names (Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid), Jack, looking strikingly like his father, proves to be a natural for this type of film. As Ben’s desire for love grows so too does his fear of the unknown, whilst his reluctance to embrace the uncertainty that comes with a relationship threatens his happiness.
Erskine’s comically skilful performance as the often outrageous, yet endearing, Alice always manages to warrant empathy and with a lesser actor she could easily have become obnoxious and irritating. Together, their chemistry is electric with comic-timing and delivery so perfect and natural, it often feels improvised.
Although predictable, it’s a smile all the way through with occasional laugh-out-loud moments. Plus One is a thoroughly charming romantic comedy, featuring two outstanding lead actors, intelligent, witty writing and showcases a lot of directorial promise from Chan and Rhymer. A perfect date-movie.
Plus One walks down the aisle of UK cinemas from February 7.