If one tried to create a movie for teenagers who can’t put away their smartphones for more than a few minutes, it would probably look like Friday Night Plan. The latest Netflix Original Indian Film is generic and lightweight, so there’s no reason to give it one’s full attention.
The premise of Friday Night Plan feels familiar. Two bickering brothers — high school senior Sid (Babil Khan) and high school junior Adi (Amrith Jayan) — are left home alone on a Friday night when their mom (Juhi Chawla Mehta) goes to Pune for a work trip. She warns them not to fight or take the car out, assuming the boys will stay home playing video games.
Of course, the brothers wind up taking the car to a party at the house of the prettiest girl at their wealthy international school, whom Sid has had a crush on for years, only to lose the car while playing a prank on students from a rival school. Sure hope they can get the car back before Mom gets home!
The familiarity of Friday Night Plan — which seems like a hundred teen movies that have come before — isn’t a problem in itself. But the film is boring. The boys’ “wild night out” lacks a sense of danger or urgency. Even they don’t seem that worried about getting into trouble. Yes, the kids at the party drink alcohol, but there’s also karaoke and a pillow fight.
Real teenagers are funnier and more interesting than this movie’s flat dialogue makes them out to be, and the characters are bland. The school’s top jock Kabir (Aditya Jain) isn’t a bully, he just sometimes gives people unflattering nicknames. The pretty girl Nat (Medha Rana) has no secrets, she’s just good-looking and rich. Even the two brothers aren’t really that different from one another.
It’s not fair to blame the cast for the tepid characterizations. Hardly any of them have any acting credits, since children barely exist in Hindi films. Friday Night Plan is writer-director Vatsal Neelakantan’s first feature film, and his inexperience shows in both the direction of his young actors and in his screenwriting. Tighter pacing would have amped up the excitement level of this tame story without having to make things any spicier.
There’s one misstep I can’t let slide. The events of Friday Night Plan take place one week before senior prom, and none of the kids have asked anyone to be their prom dates! That’s not enough time to order matching corsages and boutonnieres, make after-party plans, and figure out where to take photos — let alone find a dress and shoes and make a hair appointment if you weren’t already planning on going to the dance solo!