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Friday Night Plan (2023) - Movie Review

Netflix partners once more with Excel Entertainment, a veteran in shaping India's youth culture. Their prior joint venture, "Eternally Confused and Eager for Love," had an engaging mix of humor and complex characters. In contrast, their latest offering, "Friday Night Plan," falls flat in both areas.

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The film revolves around two brothers, 18-year-old Sid, played by Babil Khan, and 16-year-old Ali, portrayed by Amrith Jayan. Sid is the serious older brother, while Ali is the more carefree of the two. The narrative unfolds over a day when Sid becomes an instant celebrity at his school for scoring a decisive goal in a game and earns an invite to a popular party, Friday Night Plan (FNP). The two brothers attend the party, needing to reconcile their differences over the course of the evening.

The movie had potential, especially for those fond of the 'One Crazy Night' genre that usually features young actors navigating through an eventful house party. Unfortunately, "Friday Night Plan" offers a toned-down version of that experience. While its plot structure is reminiscent of the iconic film "Superbad," the similarities end there.

In contrast to "Superbad," which focused on procuring alcohol to win over a crush, here it’s about a forbidden car and a run-in with the police. This subplot does carry emotional weight, yet it runs rather smoothly, serving to divert but not enthrall.

The film's interaction with the police is shown in a unique, somewhat light-hearted way. This is a departure from typical portrayals in Indian cinema, perhaps reflecting a changing public perception due in part to Sunchika Pandey’s management of Mumbai Police's social media.

However, "Friday Night Plan" misses its mark by neither offering a compelling social commentary nor pure escapism. The characters are stereotypes facing mundane challenges. For instance, the role of school crush Natasha, played by Medha Rana, is disappointingly one-dimensional.

The performances are equally uninspiring. Babil Khan struggles to convey the nuances of his character, even with the director's aid of camera angles. In contrast, Amrith Jayan shows more promise in his role. Juhi Chawla Mehta makes a welcome appearance, thankfully not resorting to the clichéd overbearing parent.

The director, Vassal Neelakantan, fails to make the film relatable to a broader audience. Despite hints at financial strain within the family, the script doesn't delve deeper. Sid's quest for a suitable foreign college is left unexplored, as is the mysterious absence of the brothers' father.

Dialogues, penned by stand-up comedian Sapan Varma, aren't particularly funny or memorable. The film doesn’t venture into edgy territory, and its humor feels restrained, as though censoring itself.

"Friday Night Plan" is akin to listening to a podcast where privileged kids reminisce about their high school experiences, declaring them to be "cinematic." However, it fails to recognize that storytelling on screen requires a depth that the movie ultimately lacks. While we often find our own memories captivating, they rarely make for engaging cinema unless skillfully adapted or creatively embellished.