The Secret Plan
The Sloppy Plan
The Booty Plan
The Love Plan
The Party Plan
The Lame Plan
The Solo Plan
The Exit Plan
Netflix’s French original The Hook-Up Plan is basically a serialised romantic comedy. The 8 episodes stick closely to the conventional format you’d expect in a full feature film but manage to inject enough humour and charm into the episodes to make for an enjoyable watch nonetheless. While some may be turned off from the sheer amount of sex talk and the English dub is truly woeful, The Hook-Up Plan has enough in the bag to make it one of the better romantic comedy offerings on Netflix.
The story follows Elsa, a woman struggling to get over her ex following a messy break-up. Hung up on her ex’s new girlfriend (who happens to be his fiancee), Elsa’s best friend Charlotte decides to hire a male escort to snap her friend out of the rut she’s going through. Much to the disapproval of pregnant friend Anais. Only, Elsa and her male escort Jules end up hitting it off and what follows is a predictably charming tale of romance. Expect all your usual tropes to crop up here including uncomfortable truths, betrayal and the inevitable hook at the end that sees Elsa choose what man she wants as her options are suddenly presented to her. The final episode leaves things on a big cliffhanger too so those expecting a resolution to the tale may be somewhat disappointed given the hook of the series.
There’s more than a little hint of Bridget Jones in this show too; Elsa’s hopeless encounters with love and her social grace of a water buffalo make her easy to empathise with. In many ways it’s the main reason the show works as well as it does. This, coupled with the quirky group of characters who take center stage, make The Hook-Up Plan a much better show than it perhaps has any right of being.
I did mention it earlier but the English Dub in The Hook-Up Plan is bad. Really bad. While the original French was always going to be the better choice of audio, the English dub not only noticeably over-acts lines, it also embellishes needlessly on the script, with one example destroying the punch line to a joke. Early on Elsa asks her friends a question, expecting an empathetic reply. She bluntly replies no and there’s a slight pause. Cue laughter. In English, the line is changed to “I don’t think so” and the result is no comedic punch line and a change in pacing for the scene. This happens throughout with the word shitty replaced with poopy (why?!) and fax machine replaced with pre-internet. It’s such an odd colloquialistic choice and one that only holds the show back and renders the English dub all but useless.
Of course, if you can go in with the original French language and can appreciate the formulaic approach to the rom-com depicted, The Hook-Up Plan is a really enjoyable show. The characters are charismatic and charming, sprinkled with a good amount of humour and witty dialogue throughout the 8 episodes. The abrupt ending is a little disappointing but the prospect of a second season is something I’d very much embrace. The serialised format of a romantic comedy actually works pretty well and the short episode length makes this an easy one to binge. It’s not without problems (many of which thanks to the confines of the genre depicted) but if you can take to The Hook-Up Plan, there’s a charming little French series here worth checking out.
Verdict - 7/10