DIRECTOR: Marco Berger | WRITER: Marco Berger | CAST: Manuel Vignau, Lucas Ferraro, Mercedes Quinteros, Damián Canduci, Ana Lucia Antony, Carolina Stegmayer | Argentina
Whimsy strikes again. Marco Berger’s Plan B concerns a happy-go-lucky young straight guy, Bruno, who isn’t happy that his girlfriend Laura has dumped him in favor of a cute and soulful young photographer named Pablo. It’s not that they broke up, exactly, since their relationship is now that of fuck buddies: they’re pals who have frequent no-strings-attached sex, but Bruno wants more from the relationship. What? I don’t know. He’s not crazy with jealousy, his macho ego doesn’t seem to have been wounded. I guess we’re not supposed to wonder about his motivation. Anyway, since Bruno is a happy-go-lucky sort, he comes up with a plan: he’ll ask Laura to take him back as her boyfriend. Plan A doesn’t work so he launches Plan B: he’ll seduce Pablo away from her. After all, Pablo is kind of gay acting and a friend of his and Laura’s does tell Bruno that Pablo confided in her that he’d slept with a man once, so of course this plan should work. Now it just so happens that even though Bruno and Pablo go to the same gym they’ve never met, but Bruno easily makes friends with Pablo since Bruno has an easy charm and people just like him and along the way he finds himself actually coming to like the guy, a lot, and Pablo feels the same way about him. What are two ostensibly heterosexual men supposed to do now? Plan B leads up to Pablo agreeing to have sex with Bruno, but then what? Or rather, so what, since in Plan B‘s Buenos Aires, homosexuality isn’t derided or viewed with hostility, but rather it’s an amusing curiosity and even a sign of cosmopolitan distinction. Is Bruno supposed to rip off his nice guy mask and expose Pablo as the homo he really is and Laura will come running back to him, whatever that means since they’re still friends, still having uncomplicated sex with each other? Is Bruno supposed to go through with it and have sex with Pablo and then…what?
I wasn’t willing to suspend my disbelief enough to buy the premise of the movie, and I think the major reason why — aside from the plot’s incoherence on that point — is that the actor who plays Bruno, Manuel Vignau, doesn’t even try to make you believe that Bruno would be capable of the emotional cruelty his plan would entail; this Bruno is just too nice and he never once betrays even the slightest bit of unease about physical intimacy with another man that a comedy turning on that point would require. (Bruno and Pablo sleep in the same bed together frequently. Chastely, but frequently. I guess all young straight guys in Buenos Aires frequently sleep together. Or something.) Likewise, Lucas Ferraro’s Pablo is so sweet and emotionally vulnerable that only a brute would intentionally be cruel to him, but since this is a romantic comedy that just does not and could not happen. So the plot falls apart and with it the movie. Marco Berger’s directing is really hard for me to figure out. The pacing is slow with repeated shots of architectural details, scenes begin before the action does and go on after the actors have left, wordless sequences go on for minutes at a time. And then there are the endless prurient shots of the two leads in their underwear with the camera focused squarely on their bulging crotches, and when they’re not in their underwear the camera often seems to pick out basket shots. My ultimate problem with Plan B is that the plot turns on a nonexistent problem. The screenplay doesn’t make sense for what Marco Berger wants to explore, which is that line between bromance and romance and how the categories gay/bi/straight are ultimately meaningless. Which is fine, make a movie about that — and in fact those scenes where that is actually being shown happening are really really good — but to get to those scenes we pass through a lot of contrived twists and turns with character motivations that are incoherent and self-contradictory. But Manuel Vignau and Lucas Ferraro are such charmers, and the relationship they bring to life on screen so sweet, that I just can’t hate the movie. I can’t say that I’m eager to see another Marco Berger flick — this and Ausente are enough for me — but I’d go out of my way to see Vignau and Ferraro in anything.