Though riddled with a whole host of teen-movie cliches, Take the Plunge! is an affable effort that wins the viewer over with its sporadically authentic atmosphere and unexpectedly well-drawn central characters. Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin stars as Gaby, a social outcast whose friendship with the new kid at school (Mariloup Wolfe’s Sandrine) slowly-but-surely brings her out of her self-imposed isolation. There’s little doubt that Take the Plunge! improves substantially as it progresses, with director Frédéric D’Amours’ almost egregiously poppy sensibilities initially infusing the proceedings with all the depth of a network television teen drama. But as the characters and their various problems are slowly-but-surely fleshed out, there does reach a point at which one can’t help but fall for their antics hook, line and sinker (and it subsequently becomes easy enough to overlook the more superficial elements within Caroline Héroux and Martine Pagé’s screenplay). That said, the movie’s undeniably overlong running time is exacerbated by the inclusion of several needless subplots – most of which involve the multitude of obstacles that Gaby must overcome prior to the prom-night finale. Despite such deficiencies, however, Take the Plunge! is ultimately a far more effective effort than one might’ve anticipated – with Désormeaux-Poulin’s stellar work undoubtedly proving instrumental in the film’s admittedly mild success.
*** out of ****