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Film / Plan B

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Plan B is a Argentinean comedy-drama film by writer-director Marco Berger. Bruno, a young bohemian living in Buenos Aires, learns that his ex-girlfriend Laura is happily with a photographer named Pablo and becomes jealous enough to begin searching for ways to win her back.

Bruno's initial plan to seduce Laura away from Pablo fails but when he catches Pablo staring at him at the gym and hears from a friend that Pablo once slept with another man, he hatches a "Plan B" to make Pablo leave Laura: befriend him and seduce him instead. Entanglements and complications ensue.

If you're looking for the trope, you want Time for Plan B. Also not to be confused with the 2021 Teen Comedy of the same name.

This film provides examples of:

  • Almost Kiss: During their first attempt to have sex, Pablo leans in to kiss Bruno but the two of them burst into nervous laughter before he can finish it. There's also a subtler example in an earlier scene where Bruno stands very close to Pablo with the pretense of comparing their heights and a still-sleepy Pablo leans closer to him before Bruno pushes him back; it's easy to miss or overlook because the camera cuts away from their faces for part of this scene, but Pablo echoing Bruno's height-comparing pretense just before they kiss in the ending confirms that he knew that earlier scene really had been an almost-kiss one.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Bruno, who clearly considers himself to be straight and only pretending to be interested in Pablo to get back together with Laura but begins getting a little too into his Gay Bravado with Pablo.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Bruno does this twice towards Pablo. The first time, it's ambiguous if he really meant it or was just doing it as part of his plan to drive Pablo away from Laura, but him needing several minutes to work up enough courage to get the words out heavily implies that he did mean it even if he was in denial at that time. The second time, he does it after having gone through a lot of anguish about his feelings for Pablo and it's clear that he really does mean every word of it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Victor asks Bruno, "All of a sudden, you like guys?", the next shot is of Bruno puking violently into a toilet.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Pablo and Bruno both have scenes of them staring at the other man sleeping in his underwear next to him for longer than is customary for friends.
  • Becoming the Mask: While initially only trying to win over Pablo just to steal back his ex-girlfriend, Bruno ends up genuinely infatuated with him.
  • Betty and Veronica: There are three cases of this:
    • The most conventional one is Laura dating sweet, sensitive Pablo but falling back into bed with the cockier and more macho Bruno.
    • The one Bruno is deliberately setting up is Pablo becoming conflicted between his girlfriend Laura who's the 'safe' heteronormative choice and his new friend Bruno who's the alluring but less societally acceptable choice.
    • Last but not least, the one Bruno didn't foresee happening was himself becoming increasingly torn between the ex-girlfriend he wanted to win back and the male friend he went from only pretending to like to being genuinely in love with. It's a bit less clear in this case who the Betty and Veronica are: Pablo's gender makes him the 'wrong' choice for a man who thinks of himself as straight, but his Nice Guy personality fits the Betty role better than Laura's.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Bruno and Pablo both joke to their friends that they saw the other man in the shower and found out he was very well-endowed. Since this is just them engaging in Gay Bravado, we don't learn if it's actually true.
  • Birds of a Feather: The first sign that Pablo may be more compatible with Bruno than with Laura is the two of them bonding over their shared love of the TV show Blind that Laura thinks Pablo is too obsessed with.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Between Bruno, his ex-girlfriend Laura and her new boyfriend Pablo. As Bruno tries to win her back, he and Pablo eventually fall for each other instead.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Pablo mentions losing his wallet at one point. The wallet ends up being the catalyst for him and Bruno reconciling after their falling-out when Bruno finds it and returns it to him.
  • Closet Key: Bruno tries to be this to Pablo. Turns out they are this for each other.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Subverted when Bruno leaves after Pablo aborts their attempt to have sex and sadly resigns himself to Bruno leaving him for Laura; he stops and thinks with a conflicted expression on his face, then starts to head back... only to change his mind and walk away after all. Not that it stops him from being visibly consumed by regret in later scenes.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • As Bruno jealously sizes up his ex's new boyfriend, there's a shot of the boyfriend holding his large camera next to his crotch.
    • Pablo keeping his close relationship with Bruno a complete secret from his girlfriend. He frames it as Bruno being like a 12-year-old friend that he wants to keep to himself, but the parallels between it and a closeted man having a secret gay affair are unmistakable.
  • Double Entendre: After Pablo tells Bruno that the toy he'd like to be is a beach bucket and shovel because you can "fill yourself with many things", Bruno tells him in a later scene that if he could be any mineral, he'd be sand, and adds a cheeky "Get it?" while gesturing at the bucket and shovel Pablo bought for him.
  • Erudite Stoner: Bruno and Pablo have shades of this.
  • Facial Dialogue: Some of the film's most emotionally impactful scenes are done with only the actors' facial expressions and body language cluing the audience into the characters' hidden feelings, including Pablo's heartbreak after learning about Bruno's plan and the aftermath of their aborted attempt at sex.
  • False Friend: Bruno to Pablo, at first.
  • Faux Yay: Bruno's entire scheme hinges on this. Things go pear-shaped when he realizes that it became not so faux somewhere along the way. Pablo also turns out to be guilty of this trope; he admits that his claim that he once slept with a guy was a lie — but much like Bruno, he slowly comes to realize that his Faux Yay may not be so faux after all.
  • Female Gaze: Or Queer Male Gaze, considering that the director is a gay man. Laura, despite being desired by both Bruno and Pablo, gets virtually no fanservicey scenes and is always fully-clothed or covered up by blankets even when she's just had sex with one of the guys. Bruno and Pablo, in stark contrast, get multiple Shirtless Scenes and never seem to have any blankets available when they sleep next to each other in just their underwear.
  • Gambit Roulette: Bruno's Plan B would have fallen apart very quickly if Pablo hadn't decided on his own to not tell Laura about their friendship or if Laura's photo of Bruno hadn't been labeled with the wrong name. Victor even comments that all it would take to sink his plan would be Pablo showing Laura any of the photos he took of Bruno. We're never meant to think of Bruno's plan as particularly clever, though, given that it was an impulsive plan cooked up by a Crazy Jealous Guy.
  • Gay Bravado: Bruno and Pablo's flirtations with each other are initially done in a jokey, "hey let's show how macho we are by not freaking out about this kind of stuff" manner with them claiming to be boyfriends and kissing each other in front of their friends. This attitude then becomes deconstructed with them being shown to feel far less comfortable about the idea of actually being gay or bi for each other, especially when they don't have a ready excuse of being drunk or just humoring friends. The director said in an interview that this was a reflection of how Argentinean culture views two guys sleeping next to each other in their underwear as a perfectly normal act of two guys secure in their heterosexuality but has yet to fully accept actual homosexuality.
  • Gayngst: It's subtler than in many other queer films due to the film focusing more on the general (b)romance than a Coming-Out Story, but definitely there.
  • Genre Shift: The film starts out as mainly a Bromantic Comedy, but around the halfway mark the comedic scenes pretty much stop entirely as the bromance reveals its true colors as a will-they-or-won't-they Queer Romance.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Bruno succeeds in making Pablo sexually confused enough to dump Laura... and making himself sexually confused too and unable to take up Laura's offer to get back together due to the Faux Yay having become very real between him and Pablo.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Contrary to the most commonly-given film summary of Laura dumping Bruno, Bruno was actually the one who ended things between them because he was bored, but seeing her being happy with Pablo makes him jealous enough to revive his attempts to win her back. Laura even points out how ridiculous it is that he started to try to win her back only after seeing her with another guy.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: Ana clearly thinks so, and according to her she doesn't shy away from playing up the opposite herself.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Pablo initially plays along with Bruno's Gay Bravado antics in front of their friends, but as he gets increasingly confused about his feelings for Bruno, he starts acting like this in response to Bruno's continued overtures, insisting that he's never thought of making out with another guy even after agreeing to kiss Bruno under incredibly flimsy pretenses.
  • Heel Realization: Bruno realizes after Pablo finds out about his plan and calls off their friendship just how stupid and selfish his Plan B was, telling Laura that he can't be with her and that "if I were [Pablo], I'd kick my ass".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Bruno and Pablo give off this vibe, with Pablo likening Bruno to a 12-year-old friend he doesn't want to share with his girlfriend or other people. Subverted when they realize they have less-than-platonic feelings for each other that they can't keep pretending aren't there.
  • Homosocial Heterosexuality: Even though the ultimate goal of Bruno's plan is to get back together with Laura, the entire film is really about his developing relationship with Pablo.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Pablo initially refuses to kiss Bruno for "acting practice" because he fears that he'll lose Bruno as a friend if their kiss ends up feeling 'different'. Bruno assures him that won't happen, but that doesn't stop things from becoming noticeably awkward between them immediately after the kiss.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Bruno ends up having this sort of attitude toward his feelings for Pablo, being completely baffled about how he fell in love with another guy but finding himself unable to keep denying his feelings. Pablo experiences a similar confusion about his feelings for Bruno, although unlike Bruno he seems to have at least thought about the possibility of sleeping with other guys before they met.
  • Irony:
    • Bruno plans to win back Laura by getting Pablo to fall in love with him and dump Laura for him. His plan ultimately fails because he falls in love with Pablo and ends up dumping Laura for him. In general, the entire plot of two men who both lie about being attracted to other men ending up becoming attracted to each other for real falls under this.
    • Dramatic variant: The way Pablo eventually learns about Bruno's plan. He tells his friend Verónica that he's attracted to a "male friend" of his and she encourages him to see where his feelings lead him, assuring him that he shouldn't feel bad if he decides to leave Laura for his friend because she's been cheating on him with an ex named Bruno who hates Pablo and would do anything to get her back — completely unaware that Bruno is also the male friend Pablo likes and that she just dropped the emotional equivalent of a 100-lb torpedo on Pablo.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: Bruno and Pablo play off their first two kisses as just Gay Bravado done to amuse their friend Ana and their third kiss as just practice to help Bruno for an acting role that will not affect their friendship in any way. There's also the larger example of Bruno justifying his increasingly homoerotic interactions with Pablo as all just part of his Plan B; he's going to all this effort to kiss and seduce him not because he's actually attracted to him but because he just wants to get his girlfriend back... right?
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: In the opening scene, Bruno plays with a group of kittens at the park. It's also the same scene that Pablo secretly took and kept a photo of.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Bruno and Pablo's first few kisses occur when they're drunk and being egged on by their female friend to keep up their Gay Bravado.
  • Leave the Camera Running: There are several extended shots of the scenery and characters' faces.
  • Longing Look: Pablo giving Bruno what looks like one of these at the gym is what gives Bruno the inspiration for his Plan B, but it's subverted when he explains that he was just puzzled by Bruno's striking resemblance to a French man in one of Laura's photos. Then it's arguably double-subverted when the ending's Precious Photo reveal heavily implies that he had already become attracted to Bruno by that point and was trying to cover it up.
  • Love Triangle:
    • At the start of the film, Pablo and Laura are in a relationship, and Bruno is pursuing both of them.
    • Bruno's plan is to swap places with Pablo so that Bruno and Laura are together, with Pablo unable to choose between the two.
    • Eventually, Bruno and Pablo end up with each other, with Laura attracted to (but rejected by) both of them.
  • Manchild: Bruno, to a degree. He reminisces about his childhood days and the toys he liked the best in several conversations with Pablo and some of his interactions with Pablo, such as comparing heights with him, feel a bit like a child teasing a schoolyard friend. It's also implied that one of the reasons it takes him so long to make a real effort to "seduce" Pablo or realize that he's in love with him is that he doesn't want to give up the feeling of being an innocent 12-year-old boy again with him for something more adult and complicated.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Pablo's comparison of his relationship with Bruno to a friendship between 12-year-old boys who don't want to share each other with other people gets a more somber echo when he tells Bruno, "We're not 12 years old" after he tries and fails to have sex with Bruno after learning about his plan.
    • In a scene where Bruno and Pablo are standing close to each other, it looks like Bruno might kiss Pablo but he instead makes a "Which one of us is taller?" joke and hand gesture. In the ending scene, Pablo teasingly tells Bruno, "Let's see who's taller," with the same hand gesture Bruno used before they have their first proper, no-alcohol-or-excuses-involved kiss.
  • No Bisexuals: Zigzagged. It initially seems clear that Pablo is bisexual since he's slept with both women and men, but he turns out to have lied about having once slept with a man because he wanted to appear more modern. However, even though the film never explicitly labels Pablo or Bruno's sexualities and leaves it ambiguous if their feelings for each other are because or in spite of their gender, it does make it completely unambiguous that they're in love with each other romantically and sexually and their previous relationships with women does not make their love any less meaningful or genuine.
  • Pair the Suitors: The premise of the movie. Pablo and Bruno are romantic rivals turned friends turned lovers.
  • Practice Kiss: Bruno claims that he got an acting gig that requires him to kiss another guy and he wants to practice kissing with Pablo beforehand. Pablo protests against doing it for a while but eventually gives in, and there's a long moment of awkward silence between the two of them after they get a little too into the kiss.
  • Precious Photo: Pablo reveals to Bruno at the end that he keeps a photo of him in his wallet. And it isn't just any random photo either — it's a photo of Bruno holding a kitten from way back at the beginning of the film from when he and Pablo hadn't even met properly yet and Pablo was seemingly secure in his heterosexual relationship with Laura, which strongly implies that Pablo has been interested in Bruno for a lot longer than Bruno and the audience thought, especially since he loses the wallet early on before Bruno really ramps up the seduction attempts.
  • Pretty Boy: Pablo, despite having more Perma-Stubble than the typical pretty boy. Bruno refers to him as "beautiful" during his Gay Bravado scenes with him and half-jokingly asks Laura if she thinks Pablo is prettier than him.
  • Pun-Based Title: In Spanish, "bi" is pronounced identically to the letter B which means that "Plan B" can also be read as "Plan Bi(sexual)". Unfortunately, this pun doesn't work in English where "bi" is pronounced like "bye" instead and the scene where the characters point out the pun was left out of the final cut of the film, making the title's double meaning Lost in Translation for English viewers.
  • Relationship Sabotage: Bruno tries to do this to Pablo and Laura in a very roundabout way. It works, but by then it's not Laura he wants to be with.
  • Romantic False Lead: Bruno initially views Pablo as this to Laura. It turns out to be more the other way around: Laura is Pablo's Romantic False Lead and Bruno's.
  • Sad-Times Montage: Happens after Pablo breaks off his friendship with Bruno, which leads into several solo scenes of them staring miserably off into the distance while clearly missing each other and also a long, silent montage of the deserted places they used to hang out together at just before their reunion scene.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When Laura — who doesn't know that Bruno has befriended and plans to seduce her boyfriend — asks Bruno after one of their trysts what he's thinking about, Bruno replies, "Your boyfriend."
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Most of Bruno and Pablo's conversations are like this, especially the conversation they have about their favorite childhood toys and memories.
  • Shower Scene: Bruno and Pablo are shown showering in adjacent stalls at the gym shortly after Pablo breaks off their friendship, highlighting how close and yet how far apart they are from each other.
  • A Simple Plan: Win your girlfriend back by seducing her new boyfriend? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Sleep Cute: Bruno unconsciously puts an arm around Pablo and snuggles closer to him while they're sleeping in the same bed as their friends. He also rolls over to nuzzle his face into Pablo's pillow after Pablo leaves their shared bed on more than one occasion.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Bruno and Pablo have to sleep on the same bed as Ana and Javier when they stay over and also on Pablo's bed together after Pablo says that there isn't a spare room available.
  • Time for Plan B: It's right there in the title.
  • Traitor Shot: While the audience already knows about Bruno's ulterior motives for befriending Pablo, his facial expression turning devious and him nodding smugly to himself when Pablo leaves him alone in his bedroom reads very much like one. It's also a set-up for showing how Bruno's facial expressions when Pablo's not looking become progressively less smug and more uncertain the more time he spends with Pablo.
  • Trying Not to Cry: In a long, close-up shot, Pablo struggles and fails to keep from crying after learning that Bruno is Laura's ex-boyfriend and has been sleeping with her behind his back.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Bruno and Pablo might not be model-gorgeous and actually have hair on their faces and bodies, but they're still pretty easy on the eyes overall, especially when wearing nothing but their underwear in bed.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: At the start of the film, Bruno wants to get back together with Laura but Laura adamantly refuses and tells him she's never coming back to him (though she's fine with no-strings-attached sex). By the end of the film, Laura's changed her mind and is willing to get back together with Bruno but he turns her down after realizing that he's no longer in love with her but with Pablo instead.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Towards the end of the film, immediately after Victor asks Bruno "All of a sudden, you like guys?", the scene cuts to a shocked Bruno running to the bathroom to vomit. He misses the toilet bowl and it lands on the toilet seat.
  • Why Can't I Hate You?: While not explicitly stated by Bruno, it's clear that he likes his ex's boyfriend a lot more than he expected to.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Will Bruno and Laura get back together? Of course, this proves to be a bait-and-switch question with the real question being "Will Bruno and Pablo take that final step from bromance to romance?"