PLUS ONE – Review by Susan Granger

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To most 20-somethings, the forced gaiety of weddings is an inevitable agony: the emotion-clogged best-man/bridesmaid’s toasts, traditional ceremony and booze-drenched reception – including being seated at the lonely ‘singles table.’

So long-time college pals Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid), who reunite at the wedding of their friends Matt (Beck Bennett) and Amanda (Jessy Hodges), decide to be each other’s ‘Plus One’ for Southern California’s 10-weekend, marathon wedding season, including a destination one in Hawaii.

Co-writers/co-directors Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer, NYU graduates making their feature directorial debuts, have fashioned a grounded, yet somewhat uneven, familiar romantic comedy about defensively combative friends who become lovers after repeatedly teasing and tormenting one another.

Asian-American Maya Erskine (Hulu’s “Pen15”) plays quick-witted, foul-mouthed Alice, who is still deeply hurt after being dumped by philandering Nate (Tim Chou), while Jack Quaid plays commitment-phobic Ben, whose psychological trauma after his parents’ divorce has made him steadfastly determined not to settle for anyone but the ‘perfect’ woman. BTW: if Jack Quaid looks familiar, he’s the son of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid.

Along with their amusing bantering, it’s fun to spy Ed Begley Jr as Ben’s freewheeling dad, preparing for his third nuptial attempt, and Rosalind Chao as Alice’s highly opinionated mother when her younger sister gets married.

“We wrote this during a time when all of our friends seemingly got engaged at the same time,” Jeff Chan revealed at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. “There was a typhoon of engagement announcements and wedding invitations, and we were like, ‘What the hell is going on? Are we being left behind? Do we need to get married, too?’ That was the kickoff point.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Plus One” is a snappy, yet engagingly sweet 6, celebrating the return of the rom-com.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.