First Impressions: DC Romantic Comedy Redux

This is John‘s response to my first impression of his logline, “Washington, D.C. seems awfully small when this bartender finds out four of his ex-girlfriends are living there too. He seems to be falling in love all over again.”:

I like the sports bar setting for the guy in a RomCom only because I feel like the competition of sports makes for a good metaphor for life. There’s a lot you could do with the bartender / leading man. Yet, I do not know if I really envision it being a Comedy. A movie that’s romantic and about love does not necessarily have to be a comedy. (See the new movie, “Once” as an example.)

I would think a good portion of the movie would be told in flashback. These girls came from all over his life, they are a part of him and made him who he is today. Yet, I think there would have to be a new love interest. It would be too hard for the audience to understand why he would get back together with any of his previous loves after seeing the drama that happened in their relationships the first time. (Because there is drama in every relationship that makes it difficult for people to see them happening again from the outside.)

I find a problem with the “Jen” idea only that it makes love seem to simple. If you’re going to make a RomCom don’t make it simple. That’s what makes it corny. The brilliance of a good romantic comedy comes out in the subtlety.

In fact, I think making it a drama, makes for the best story of all. The logline makes the movie sound like a romantic comedy. But originally it was actually conceived as a television show, with this opening scene:


Scene 1: Alex and Katie are sitting on a couch awkwardly after what appears to have been a long conversation. They’re in the middle of a nice downtown D.C. apartment, which is actually Katie’s. It’s well furnished and has a variety of little knickknacks around the room.

A (trying to look sorry, but not doing very well): I’m sorry, but things aren’t just the same anymore. Really I’m just not interested in our relationship. Something has changed.

K (obviously frustrated and having done this before): You ass. What is that supposed to mean? Why do you say this every time?

A: I don’t know. I just don’t think this is working. We don’t love each other anymore. We act so differently. It’s just stupid to keep doing this.

K: WE act differently? I’m pretty sure the only one who is been acting differently lately is you. What happened? What did I do wrong?

A: You didn’t do anything wrong, you’re wonderful. I just think that I have to do move on…. I’m sorry.

K: Don’t say you’re sorry. You’re not sorry. (Starts to cry) Just leave. I don’t want to talk to you or see you anymore.

A (bewildered): Oh, ok… I guess I’ll be going then… (opens door and leaves apartment building)

Scene 2: Alex is walking along the street, it’s a bright sunny summer day, Katie obviously lived in one of the nicer neighborhoods downtown. Alex pulls out his cell phone and calls someone. Karpo picks up, he’s at work at the gym. He’s helping out a rather attractive blond haired woman. Split screen of the conversation.

A: Well that’s over.

K: Wait… what’s over? What did you do now?

A: Katie and I broke up. I told her it was over. I told her that I wasn’t interested anymore.

K: Hey, you know you can’t use the same excuse three times in a row. The girls sort of catch on.

A: Is it my fault that my girlfriends bore me?

K: Well, not to be an ass… but yes…

A (cutting off Karpo before he can continue): Oh well, I hope we can still be friends. That would be cool. Although she seemed really upset when I left.

K (supporting the woman who is excercising w/ his free hand): Really? Maybe that’s because you just broke up with her again. And I can’t believe how you talk to every girl you’ve dated. That’s not a good idea man. Some day its going to get you into big trouble.

A: How can being friends get you into trouble?

K: Trust me. It can. I know.

A: Well, I like being friends. I mean Katie was a nice girl. Just not for me.

K: Right… she was so not for you that you dated all through college. Man I can’t believe this is over.

A: First of all, it wasn’t all through college, we broke up twice, and… we didn’t start dating until sophomore year.

K: Oh, my bad. You dated for 3 year, plus another couple months out of school. Yeah, a drop in the bucket for the dating wizard. Man, are you ever going to not date someone?

A: How about right now? I’ve got plans.

K: Well I think tonight’s should be a celebratory drink. I’ll catch you at “NEED NAME FOR BAR” tonight.

A: Ok. Sounds good.

K (lowers client down after she’s done excercising[sic]): See ya tonight.

It’s much more of an HBO Drama in it’s current conception than an Indie Film. But that’s what I see. I see Alex rising through the drama of the relationship and the drama of seeing and possibly being forced to interact with some of his former girlfriends. It shows how small the world is, tries to figure out how long love lives on, and what changes when you move on. I know I just went a ton of high concept again without getting into an actual plot details. That’s what I think though when I think about this film.

I like this different take on the idea, and I love getting script bits, even fragments. Thanks to John for letting me post this.

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