Natalie Morales’ 2021 movie Plan B is a rare thing: a warm, funny road trip buddy comedy about two teenage girls who would do absolutely anything for each other that is also explicitly about the harm done when access to abortions and other reproductive care is restricted.
One of the girls, Sunny (Kuhoo Verma), is a shy nerd, while the other, Lupe (Victoria Moroles), is closer to “rebel goth.” Sunny has a crush on a boy at school, and Lupe convinces her to throw a party at her house in an effort to win him over. When the boy instead leaves with one of the most popular girls at school, Sunny drunkenly has sex with her very religious, very naive friend Kyle, who is nearly as panicked as Sunny about the situation afterward.
When that drunken encounter turns into a pregnancy scare, Sunny and Lupe go to a pharmacy to get a Plan B pill but are turned away because they don’t have a parent present. Understandably nervous to go to her parents with this situation, Sunny decides to take her mom’s car and drive with Lupe to the nearest Planned Parenthood — hours away in Rapid City.
From there, the movie turns into the kind of lighthearted buddy comedy you’d expect from the road trip genre, filled with raucous gags and ridiculous situations. Moroles and Verma are perfect in the two leading roles as friends who would literally die for each other and are also in way over their heads, and their chemistry leaps off the screen. The supporting cast is filled with uproarious bit players, including Rachel Dratch (SNL), Edi Patterson (The Righteous Gemstones), and Moses Storm (Players).
As Polygon’s Maddy Myers put it in our list of 10 great LGBTQ comedies you can watch at home:
There’s also a lot of gross-out humor in this movie (there’s an on-screen penis piercing, for example), but given that the premise is about human bodies and all of their unexpected and inconvenient capabilities, it works.
Even with all the gags and the lighthearted fun, you never forget the drama in Plan B all stems from the pitiful lack of access to abortions for many people in this country. These facts, which are true for so many people, all directly caused the situation: 1) Sunny was denied the pill by a pharmacist, 2) there are no places local to Sunny and Lupe that could help, and 3) the giant stigma around this issue made Sunny afraid to go to her parents for assistance. Plan B works because it is able to organize a fun genre romp around a narrative structure that directly reflects the consequences of how we treat reproductive rights in this country. It’s a delicate balance, but one that works.
Plan B is available to watch on Hulu.