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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Those Wedding Bells are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine

Plus One (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

wedding speechOn the eve of the wedding of his friend Matt from college, yuppie Ben King (Jack Quaid) practices his best man wedding speech on another collegiate friend, business­woman Alice Mori (Maya Erskine.) She convinces him to redo it as humor rather than allegory, although the sleep­over allegory works fine for the movie itself. Namely, at first every­thing is copacetic, then a few “weak” souls nod off amidst ridicule. Then more suc­cumb to sleep. At some late hour every­one conks out except for two remaining friends. Body language identifies these two as Ben & Alice. The idyllic start is their happy college days. Some weak souls got hitched early amidst a lot of ribbing. Then some more tied the knot. Now with age 30 approaching, it's a veritable “wedding season.” Ben is on the hook to attend six weddings there in sunny California—one is in Hawaii—and Alice for four. They agree to go together to all ten of them as each other's “plus one” so they aren't consigned to the singles' table, singleton photos, and segregated housing.

The festive atmosphere(s), forced togetherness, and liquid lubrication blind­side them with a romantic spark. The audience and all their friends think they look good together. How­ever, Alice is not done moping about her cheating ex-boy­friend Nate, and Ben hasn't quite come to grips with his father's second marital breakup.


BibleThis movie being wall-to-wall weddings some of it is bound to rub off on our under­standing of what getting married is all about. And especially since it's a sacred institution, and the speeches employ allegories, we may even find some­thing fitting in the sacred scriptures to compare it to. Early in the New Testament is found The Acts of the Apostles where we become acquainted with the big names of Peter—aka Cephas—and Paul as well as their support crew including the likes of Apollos and Barnabas. Saint Peter will write, (2Pet. 3:15-16) “that the long­suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be under­stood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” The wisdom books that our beloved brother Paul knows and would save us from destruction include, (Eccl. 7:16) “Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?” Paul would save the carnal Corinthians from their unrighteous sectarianism when he points out, (1Cor. 1:12) “that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.”

spudPaul puts the apostolic interlocking ministries into perspective by writing, (1Cor. 3:5-6) “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” In “Plus One” a de facto allegory is developed in a family meal setting. It's being cooked at the parental Mori home. Mr. Mori does the grilling out back with Ben as his “assistant grill­master.” The women folk cook the side dishes (“How much longer before the potatoes are ready?”) in the kitchen (“I'm just trying to gauge how much longer before I put the branzino on the grill.”) It should all come together in a balanced meal.

In ministry it comes down to, (1Cor. 3:21-22) “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your's.” In a later Pauline letter he'll try to get the church as a body to be more accepting of him and his, (2Cor. 6:11-13) “O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.” This is different from the sectarianism he addressed in First Corinthians where some were followers of Paul and some of other ministers. The apostles are all of a group and Paul wants the church as a whole to accept them, which is why he addresses the church in the plural ye instead of selected members thou in asking for acceptance.

In a movie allegory another number acquires significance when Ben & Alice being not married or even in a relation­ship go to rent a room for a particular venue. The desk clerk Steve gives them a choice. One room has twin beds and the other a vibrating king-size bed. They opt for the former.

rsvpThis movie has ten weddings or so. In Acts there were many implicit weddings during the seven years from the start of Paul's preaching in Corinth to when he wrote his answering letter from Ephesus:

According to Pastor Criswell, The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
Date: First Corinthians was written in the spring, probably in 57 a.d., though it could have been as early as 54 a.d. Second Corinthians was written some six months later. In 50 a.d. Paul reached Corinth on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-4). In an eighteen month stay (Acts 18:9-11) [and then some (Acts 18:18)] a church was established. … He had received questions from the Corinthians (1Cor. 7:1) and wrote the letter known as First Corinthians as an answer to those questions. At the time, Paul was in Ephesus (1Cor. 16:8), near the end of his three-year stay there (Acts 20:31) and before his departure for Macedonia (1Cor. 16:5, Acts 20:1).

By Paul's light the escape from fornication is marriage, (1Cor. 7:2) “to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Or to be more precise, the marriage of a man to a woman. Nine of the ten weddings in this movie were hetero­sexual but not Nick and Brett's, so they would be fornicating regardless of their new status. Marriage had never been that way in the movies before, and California's Proposition 8 even defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. The glitch here relates to Alice's little sister Lily who graduated with honors from Harvard. As film­maker David Handler observes, “the Holly­wood crowd … were totally taken in by any­one who had an Ivy League degree and didn't spit when he talked” (16).

For a proper definition of marriage, I'll quote Dr. Ide: “The Contemporary Christian stan­dard was defined not by the bible but gen­er­ated by Roman law as defined by the jurist Modes­tinus who argued that marriage was ‘consortium omnis vitae, divini et humani iuris communi­catio: a life-long part­ner­ship, and a sharing of civil and religious rights’” (83–5). The religious rights occur in the context of what the Orthodox and Catholics call a domestic church, the civil rights are the province of a state regulated domestic partner­ship, as it were. According to cultural historian David Hackett Fischer, the Puritans had “a cultural idea of marriage that was unique to the Puritan colonies. … The Puritans of New England rejected all the Anglican ideas. They believed that marriage was not a religious but a civil contract” (77). In the New England states—& NY & DC—the civil contract was the whole kit and caboodle, so once laws against sodomy were removed it was a simple matter of equal rights to open (civil) marriage to homo­sexuals. The rest of the states did not abide such a redefinition, but the courts stepped in to force acceptance of same-sex marriage. What used to be called a domestic partner­ship is now called marriage,

As a matter of optics this movie never shows or mentions the submission of official papers to secure civil status for these marriages taking place on-screen, so movie Nick and Brett are left in the lurch anyway. Go figure.

Paul tackles the subject of a widow remarrying: (1Cor. 7:39-40) “if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment.” The movie gives an allegory of sequential marriages when Ben's dad Chuck (Ed Begley Jr.) is about to marry his third wife Gina. Ben would rather have Chuck “pace” him­self to avoid mistakes. Paul wished the widow to marry “in the Lord” and Ben wanted his dad to marry in his own age bracket—Gina was half his age—but they were both ultimately concerned with the parties' happiness. How­ever, Ben was able to accept thirty-some­thing Gina as she was mature for her age. He seemed more opposed to, say, some bimbo. The apostles, likewise, seemed to be against some­thing on the order of (1Tim. 5:11-12) “the younger widows … when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.” Marrying “in the Lord” is expressed adverbially, to describe making a Christian home, not excluding a non-convert as long as he is well-behaved and conducive to peace.

The force of the drama here is in Ben's high standards that no woman could ever fulfill. Paul was more realistic in his expectations, not making courting couples “over wise” in their criteria, but to be resigned that (1Cor. 7:28) “such shall have trouble in the flesh” no matter whom they marry. As Ben eventually realizes, “if you spend your whole life looking for perfect ... you wind up with nothing.” Nothing means vulner­ability to fornication and other problems of the flesh.

Paul eventually will go on to advise the Corinthians, (2Cor. 6:14-15) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: ... for … what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” He uses the rhetorical question in the singular, as he'd earlier allowed for a mixed marriage that the Corinthians might observe, to advise against mixed corporal worship, i.e., “Be yeplural not unequally yoked.” This aligns perfectly with the verse before it, which is also necessarily in the plural, not singular. If rhetorically speaking a particular person is seen not to be the most suitable match for a Christian, then he or she would be rejected any­way without changing the number in Paul's command to make it restrictive in the singular as well. If, how­ever, a non-Christian is deemed the most suitable mate, then so be it, although such instances will be notably rare. Paul is not out to destroy the believer by being over wise.

Production Values

” (2019) was written and directed by Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer. It stars Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid with support from Beck Bennett, Rosalind Chao, Perrey Reeves and Ed Begley Jr. Both leads gave excellent per­for­mances. It was certified United Kingdom: 15, United States: Not Rated. It was filmed in LA mostly and in other southern California locations and Hawaii. The characters used a lot of four letter words as if they haven't entirely grown up, but it keeps them in character. It moves right along and we are spared most of the speeches.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This movie was really intense, but I could get behind it as I cared for the characters and how they were coping with life, about to exit their twenties. It was a rush.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for children: Not rated, bad language, sex, drugs. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

The Criswell Study Bible. Authorized King James Version. Nashville | Camden: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1979. Print.

Fischer, David Hackett. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York: Oxford UP, 1989. Print, Web.

Handler, David. The Man in the White Linen Suit. Copyright © 2019 by David Handler. New York: HarperCollins Pub., first edition. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.