In WarnerMAX’s second production, Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira steal the show, but not without issues.
In Unpregnant, seventeen-year-old Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson) never thought she’d want to fail a test—that is, until she finds herself staring at a piece of plastic with a blue plus. With a promising college-bound future now disappearing before her eyes, Veronica considers a decision she never imagined she’d have to make. This never-taken-lightly decision leads her on a 1000 mile hilarious road trip to New Mexico over three days with her ex-best friend, Bailey (Barbie Ferreira) where they discover sometimes the most important choice you’ll make in life is who your friends are.
For a teenager living in Columbia, Missouri, Veronica’s room is decorated like a millionaire’s and speaking as someone who’s been to Columbia and lived in Missouri for 20+ years, I can guarantee that while people in Columbia do well for themselves, but it’s not to this extent. Columbia is home to the University of Missouri and that’s about it. It’s a college town, not a city in Southern California.
I wish we got a look at Baily and Hayley’s relationship before the film thrusts them together on the ensuing road trip. It’s nice to hear two characters talk out their issues, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if we don’t have the context. Kevin’s writing could do with a few tweaks. Like Bailey, we never get the proper context for their relationship, which leaves the viewer with this one-sided relationship that never gets the chance to flesh itself out. There is also a couple of subplots that I could do without. Several plot points appear out of nowhere that is not crucial to the plot or the characters within and either go unresolved or the story spends a vast amount of time dedicated to the subplot. I would give specific examples, but I’m pretty sure they’re spoilers. Let’s just say there’s a situation with a detour, and a section involving a carnival that feels like they only exist for the sole purpose of extending the film’s runtime. At the 1 hour and 5-minute mark, the film becomes long in the tooth. The plot is finished, but the film keeps going for some reason. All that said, the film does an excellent job of subtly discussing mature topics like abortion, body image issues, religion without really talking about them. It does this through the clinical behavior of Victoria and the free spirit behavior of Bailey on this road trip. Through this, director (and one of the writers) Rachel Lee Goldenberg gets to explore the Midwestern and Southern states in a way that I don’t think many of these “road trip” movies have gotten the chance to do.
I feel like the film’s cast does an excellent job with what they’re given. Each actor gets an ample opportunity to showcase how they’re playing against their usual types (with Ferreira and Richardson obviously being the standouts) without it feeling like it’s being forced.
What would your first dance be to? Probably Imagine Dragons or Nickleback.”Barbie Ferreira as Bailey in Unpregnant
Props to composers Alex Redfern and Roger Neill as well as Julia Michels, Julianne Jordan, and Tess Castro for creating a soundtrack that feels like something Victoria would play on shuffle on the way to school or while she’s studying. The score is this electronic groove that wades in and out whenever there isn’t licensed music while also knowing when it isn’t needed. The full force of Warner Bros feels behind this soundtrack as well. You’ve got tracks from Malia Civetz, Deap Vally, Amy Allen and so many more. If you don’t believe how good they are, have a listen below, and come back.
Note: Only 10 of the 18 licensed songs are available to listen to below. Don’t know why.
Overall, Unpregnant is a good movie if you have HBO Max to sit back on a Saturday morning and watch with your best friend, but you will feel the weight of the film’s runtime and there are some issues I would’ve loved the film to expound upon without it feeling like filler.
Unpregnant is now available to stream on HBO Max with a subscription.