In a scene where Babil is in his school uniform and having a meal in the canteen, he looks like the spitting image of his late father, Irrfan. In parts where he plays the serious boy, you see depth in his eyes, and there are many moments where he lets go of everything and is having a blast, cracking jokes and dancing his heart out. In those moments, you realise his potential to be able to portray emotions. But this all turns into a shame when a poorly written story and wafer-thin plot fails an actor. (Also read: Qala review)
Director-writer Vatsal Neelakantan sets out to show the madness and enthusiasm that a Friday Night Plan would create among school students, but his dialogues in his film fall flat, as does the screenplay. Everything appears so rushed that you never get a grip of where the film is headed. There are no twists or turns or any big reveals to leave you awestruck. It’s not even a slice-of-life story that’s made with an intention to give you a feel-good-experience. Honestly, we’ve watched better high school and college dramas on television. Remember Hip Hip Hurray in the 90s or Remix in early 2000s. But this Netflix film is seems to be a half-hearted and insincere attempt at churning a story that may have its heart at the right place, but lacks soul.
The wafer-thin plot
Other than Menon brothers — Sidharth aka Sid (Babil) who is the bookworm senior and Aditya aka Adi (Amrith Jayan), the extrovert and fun one, Friday Night Plan has nothing that grabs brownie points. At home, they are always fighting, bickering, and looking for ways to land in troubles. One night when their mum (Juhi Chawla) is away for a business trip, the brothers put on their mischievous hats and plan to secretly attend the year’s hottest party that’s hosted by the rich brats of the school. While Sid and Adi succeed in finally being a part of the party and turn favourites among the gang, too, they realise they goofed-up on the way and now to get thing right. Will they give up on the party and get back to what needs their attention? Will they be able to rectify their act before their mum returns home? That’s how the fate of Friday night turns for these two brothers.
Babil and Amrith’s chemistry shines
What I truly enjoyed watching was Babil and Amrith’s on-screen camaraderie. They tell a tale of brotherhood, and if that’s the only thing Friday Night Plan set out to show, well, it doesn’t disappoint. But, other than that, the screenplay and narrative is way too scattered, and is almost directionless. At different points you would feel — Is it about a mother-son bond? Is it about high school crush and romance? Is it about a party gone wild? Is it about how youngsters need to be responsible? Is it about parenting? Or is it just about one Friday and the plan that could have been avoided! There’s an underplayed romance angle too, but after a point, it ends up being a neglected subplot that never got enough attention in the script.
At 1 hour 43 minutes, the film might not appear lengthy but it struggles to keep you invested for most parts. There’s one particular moment where Sid is telling his younger brother about how after their father died, their mum has done a lot for them, so they need to be more responsible. Knowing how strongly Babil would have connected with this emotion, having been through his father, Irrfan’s untimely demise, the film just doesn’t do justice to that scene. We are never told who their father was or what kind of equation the kids shared with him. Even with their mum, everything remains on the surface and never reaches an extent that it moves you.
Actors let down by the writing
Babil is as sincere as it gets and delivers an endearing performance. After an intensely beautiful film like Qala, he manages to adjust to this switch quite effortlessly. Of course, you wish a better written part for him, but with whatever he could do the given script, he takes the cake. Amrith, is refreshing and quite a joy to watch. Despite a younger and immature role, you sense a level of understanding and maturity in his lines. Juhi Chawla in a cameo appearance is pleasant but honestly, doesn’t really do much to add to the story.
Watch Friday Night Plan if you don’t have anything better to do on the weekend. It makes you smile less, question more and stays with you only as long as it lasts.