‘Plus One’ Review (2019)

Faced with an entire summer full of weddings, college pals Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid), agree to be the others plus one for each wedding. Alice is coming off of a painful break-up, and Ben is just looking for “The One” while also being far too picky with his expectations of the perfect woman. Together they attend each wedding, helping the other find potential hook-ups at every celebration.

The film introduces each wedding with the maid of honor or best man speech, all of which are hilariously painful in their own right. As Ben and Maya grow closer, that line between friendship and love becomes skewed and confusing, leading both of them to re-evaluate how they truly feel about one another.

Plus One is one of those rare rom-com gems that delivers on both the romance and the comedy thanks to a witty script and undeniably good chemistry between Alice and Ben. Erskine is a force. She perfectly layers Alice’s vulnerability with raunchy, sharp one-liners, but she is also emotional and honest when the moment calls for it, letting us into Alice’s carefully guarded world to show us there is more to her than the snarky BFF playing “wingman”.

As Ben, Quaid is an appealing leading man that reminds me of a younger Tom Hanks in his rom-com heyday (…it also helps that his parents are Dennis Quaid and rom-com queen, Meg Ryan. Rom-coms are in his blood, okay!?). At his core, he is the everyman, a good guy who wants idyllic love but can’t seem to get past his own doubts to fully embrace what is in front of him. Those doubts are likely intensified when his father (Ed Begley, Jr.) informs him that he’s engaged to be married… for the third time.

I will admit that this carries some heavy When Harry Met Sally vibes, and it totally works. I’m a sucker for the friends to lovers trope, and Plus One gives it some edge by offering a deeper look into Ben and Alice’s relationship. The happily ever after that we tend to get at the end of most rom-coms is traded in for realism, including the messy, flawed complications of falling in love and trying to stay there.

Could one say Plus One is predictable? Yes, they could, and they would be right. But rom-coms are predictable. We (mostly) know what the destination will be. But the joy of (most) rom-coms is the journey. Plus One’s journey is an endearing one lined with plenty of laughs and a love that feels incredibly authentic and real. This is one I’ll be putting on my shelf to watch again in the future. Probably multiple times.

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."