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Review: Pro-life drama 'Unplanned' rallies base

Drama follows Planned Parenthood worker turned anti-abortion activist

Adam Graham
The Detroit News
Ashley Bratcher (right) in "Unplanned."

The one-sided abortion drama "Unplanned" isn't going to change anyone's mind about the pro-life/pro-choice debate, nor is it designed to. It's strictly set up to rally its base.

Based on the 2011 memoir by Abby Johnson, "Unplanned" tells the story of a former Planned Parenthood worker turned anti-abortion activist.

"My story isn't a neat and tidy one," says Johnson (played by Ashley Bratcher), one of several disclaimers she offers up front. 

That's one way to put it: "Unplanned" paints Planned Parenthood with such broad villain strokes (at one point a doctor performing an abortion gleefully exclaims, "beam me up, Scotty!") that it carries an on-screen message at its close, affirming the film "was created without the permission or cooperation of, and is in no way affiliated with, Planned Parenthood, its officers, directors, employees, subsidiaries or affiliates." (In other news, you may be surprised to learn "Vice" was not made in partnership with the Bush White House.)

This single-issue film presents characters who exist only to talk about and share their views on abortion; if they have anything else going on in their lives, writer-directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon show no interest. And the screenplay reads like talking points pulled from an anti-abortion pamphlet.

But even those pamphlets wouldn't have the gumption to say, "abortion is our fries and soda," as one evil Planned Parenthood director explains to our fair Abby, likening abortions to the fast food industry. Like fast food, its intended audience will gobble it up. Anyone else will likely find "Unplanned" abhorrent. 



Rated R: for some disturbing/bloody images

Running time: 109 minutes