Review: ‘Plus One’ could use added depth

There’s magic in the air in the sci-fi thriller “Plus One.” Like the latest must-have rave accessory, an unexplained force crackles, glows and makes revelers see double.

Director Dennis Iliadis pairs a familiar premise — teens partying like there’s no tomorrow while the world falls apart around them — with an original conceit. At a lavish house party, doppelgangers of all the guests appear, disappear, then reappear, each time with closer resemblances to the original individuals. College pals David (Rhys Wakefield) and Teddy (Logan Miller) attempt to discover what’s bending the laws of time and space, while pursuing the girls they’re smitten with.

PHOTOS: Movie Sneaks 2013

Iliadis demonstrates a bold confidence in maintaining the inscrutability of the mystery. He also elicits a poignant performance from Wakefield and a hilarious one from Miller. Their characters’ romances and dalliances feel admirably specific; even a seemingly generic “hot girl” (Natalie Hall) is endowed with personality and a few sexual tics.

Unfortunately, the script’s wholehearted embrace of ambiguity reduces the theme of doubling into a plot device rather than developing it into a metaphor. The image of replication lends itself easily to a few different analogies: conflicting impulses, self-love and self-hatred, the caprices and impermanence of love and connection, a chance at redemption. But in trying to say everything, “Plus One” reveals it doesn’t have much to say at all.


“Plus One.” No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. At Downtown Independent, Los Angeles.