First off your logline is much improved in terms of intriguing me and getting me excited to read, but it doesn't really deliver if you like fairy-tale endings, (not that you promised that exactly, but...) and is it a race against time? I'm giving it a more thorough second read to see if I missed something.
Don't get me wrong, It's a nice ending, but there seem to be gaps or shortcuts in the narrative that you definitely should fill out.
Tonally your story chops and changes a lot (little tomato pun there) which definitely is keeping me on my toes. This is my biggest quibble with this draft.
Okay, so this starts with a bang - literally, or, euphemistically on my part.
It confused me a bit, the Senator and the 'kill me bit'. Just general kinkiness, or what? Apparently not, she gets stabbed? And it's a cover-up? I felt like you were going for a sensational start - not a bad thing, but a bit discombobulating. And then the story that follows appears completely disconnected. Okay, until we pick it up again at the end.
I'm just not convinced that's your best choice of subplot.
Things may be out of order here, so bear with me:
Debra's revelation later (linking it with Larry's career slump) she being his then Editor? Ė I donít think this is ideal. The big story that never was either needs reference in conversation more (not just top n tailing) or it needs turfing altogether. It's too dominating and it feels like two different scripts/stories to me. I guess you were doing a jump-in-big with the opening, but it doesnt sit right imh.
I'm reading through it again, but if I were you I'd open with some embarrassing or funny or telling scene with Larry instead to set the scene that this is his story. Establish mid-life angst perhaps, something where he's clearly out of his element, out of his depth - considering also that you're so good at the comedic elements make this shine comedically from the start. Maybe the funny opening is also something inherently sad or bittersweet, maybe about Larry's best days being behind him. Perhaps also capitalise on his naivety with all things 21st Century tech, and bachelorhood?
I strongly suggest you match Larryís 'morning glory' with this phone call from Ellen:Sorry about the hour,
but I took you for an early riser.
I think itíd be funnier. He could look down at himself. She must be psychic, eh, Tommy?
Maybe have a conversation with the cat while listening to the message. Instead of peeing on the cat?
Perhaps have Larry and Brenda actually make eye-contact in the opening, if you're going with the current ending Ė him rigorously exercising, slightly embarrassed to see her looking up at him, and/ or he smiles down at her, shrugs?
Onto George's abode:
Nice visuals of the luxurious surroundings, the front-door chime etc., But -an Olympic sized swimming pool?
Do people actually own them that size? Or is this just a figure of speech?
Skipping ahead: I took notes at random, sorry...
LARRYThereís this thing, I donít know if
youíve heard of it before, but it
occurs shortly before death.
Sometimes. Itís called a burst.
Itís like this... sudden surge of
energy and awareness. Parkinsonís
tremors stop. Dementia reverts to
clarity. Itís like, in that moment,
as fleeting as it may be,
everythingís okay. Everythingís
I don't think this fits at this point in the story. I get it's a crucial part of the story and the title but it appeared a bit thrown in there.
Even Ellen asks what made you think of that?
It felt like it was author intervention. Its placement could be more touching and profound later Ė like when Ellen is in fact on the way out, perhaps used as a segue to her saying she wants to dance? Or quite a bit before that actually.
Also, she says she's twenty-nine. He says she seems older and she says she gets that a lot. Okay, granted we suss by this time she is a whole lot older, but what Larry says is not exactly complimentary. Maybe he adjusts his wording Ė that she seems like she's an old soul or wise beyond her years. ? I felt not only were you telegraphing the plot, but it also seems contradictory to her description. So far everything else points to her being perfect, a real beauty - physically.
Also, it's not exactly flattering to be told the article being written for the paper is a fluff piece. Larry says this to Ellen, then later on Ellen says similar to Larry.
On that: Why is Ellen determined to all but tell Larry the secret ingredient that is in the tomatoes? It seems a bit weird, contrived for the story that she wants the secret out there. Imagine if word did get out. The whole world would be on their doorstep.
Love your character descriptions. You nail them.Garvey seems to laugh using only his lower jaw.
Is she marrying an illegal
Such a shame we have to be quite so PC these days. Perhaps if Larry had flashed the salesman a pic of the engaged couple Ė George being goofey for the camera - Garvey, like an idiot jumps to conclusions based on appearances. Perhaps Garvey looks genuinely concerned? I actually laughed at it cause idiots like Garvey very much exist in the world. Should representations of stupidity and bigotry be censored too?LARRY
Your name. You know, Steve Garvey.
Like the baseball player.
Interesting thing you do here, and I noticed it more than once.
You often leave off reaction shots (descriptions) and skip right to next scene.
Yes, as the audience we can conjure the appropriate reaction Garvey might have had ourselves, but you leave it up to us a bit too often imho. Your comedic writing of same might be funnier than what I might imagine.
I personally would milk more with the purchase of the car.
Maybe he orders it in Cherry Red (good symbolism there too) Ė maybe Amy's favourite colour when she was a kid. Perhaps some intrinsically feminine touches or extras that make this definitely a woman's car. Larry still sees Amy as a kid except now she's all grown up. He's having trouble letting go. Maybe that following scene where he goes to deliver it is fraught with genuine embarrassment when it dawns on Amy exactly that it was intended as a wedding gift for her. Maybe (the newspaper business is not very lucrative) we see first the lengths Larry goes to, to get the money for the car, only for it to fall flat cause he can't compete with George and his wealth. Perhaps the penny drops for Amy finally after the bird-dropping visual. Then Larry overcompensates and gushes over George's gift.
George reads a bit like Steve Martin in Father of the Bride at the moment... In a good way.
I think you can mine more comedy out of these sequences.She wraps himself around him. They kiss.
Btw, in contrast to Larry (who's behind the times) George should be younger imho.
And maybe working in something high-tech/Digital, apart from any extracurricular activities he's involved in. Look, I canít speak for your
mother, but I think I was more in
love with the idea of being married
than actually being married.
This (above) really doesn't tally with Larry being told Ellen is like another younger version of Debra (which is said later by?) It only works if he says something like I was madly and utterly in love with your mother, and then something like Ė life just came between us, or we had creative differences etc.Larry on his blue tooth.
(So Larry's not tech illiterate entirely?)
I like that Debra calls Larry Lawrence and that whole mixed up phone call intercutting with Ellen calling and George butt-dialing. It's very nicely choreographed. Great job.
A water Park? Hmm, something different, I suppose. But he pikes out? More tomatoes would've fixed that! And made it comedy gold. Maybe make for of that more amusement/evolution of Larry's character? Him really living after all this time of a careful staid life, not the adventurous one he planned? Better late than never.
It doesn't really make sense that Ellen's now being cagey and self-deprecating, does it? She was trying to get him to look at the full story before, but now:
ELLENLarry, itís a farm stand. Youíre
not writing for Forbes.
You shouldíve came with me, then.
Came? (does Ellen speak a bit like a country hick with bad grammar?)
If so, perhaps John:
JOHNI ainít got no more answers for
you. Now get outta here.
- Should say: clear outta here? Or, git outta here?
Maybe make farm stand one word?The two PEOPLE stealing from the farm stand walk hand-in-hand...
That threw me.
How do the tomatoes work then? Because...
Ellen is youthful looking, but...HERB and his wife
CLAIRE, both easily in their 70s.
- Had their medical complaints cured.
- But, they're not youthful looking?
- Claireís libido is insatiable. And,
- well, itís been a long time since I
- sucked a dick, but Iím flexible
- like that.
You might get away with this if you (once again, tonally, steer this more in Comedy/Drama territory) up the comedy more, and also get The Farrelly brothers to direct it, or Apatow.
The tone could be the beauty of it too. I'm just not sure...
The next scenes with John and Ellen are pretty harsh. John's a real prick.
I'm going to read it again for the latter third, but -
A few observations and questions mainly:
I have no idea what aquatic accent lighting is. It sounds good though...
That's a hell of a long wait and a big crowd if there's a two hour wait.
After Larry eats the tomato he's meant to have experienced a youthful surge Ė or invigorating moment (virility returned) which is meant to be quite noticeable with Brenda jogging past. I think that was a bit played down. I made a suggestion up top about this.
You definitely sail through Larry meeting Ellen to them consummating their relationship too fast imho.
This serves so that I don't care as much about her as I should, and it seemed a bit quick regardless. Plenty to mine there more via courtship/dating, and to mine more laughs too. You're spot on that Ellen is too under-developed at the moment. (Sorry for the repeat - I noted that up top too).
Your comedic touches are great. Just make sure enough of them land in dialogue.
Example: George's description. Loved all that with the Speedos and the python and Larry's awkwardness with the hug - (it made me laugh) but your audience won't be reading that line along with watching the film.
I'm left with questions re this elixer of youth.
Why doesn't Ellen keep her daily intake of tomatoes up? (Did I miss something?) The soil changing/alkalinity? There was no explanation in my mind as to why we went from it being a going concern with people-in-the know lining up from far and wide, to Ellen going with Larry to the wedding... And then collapsing? It's as if there's a big gap in the narrative or third Act here. Or maybe I missed something?
Why does Ellen go ballistic in the supermarket?
Is it a 'to hell with it' moment?Ellen runs toward him like Baby running to Johnny in the
Dirty Dancing finale.
Hmm. I got it, but I think that's a cheat. Describe it your way with your originality.She jumps into his arms. He swings her in a circle.
You know the sequence in 500 Days of Summer, after he gets laid and he's on top of the world? If you don't, watch it. It's the perfect fantasy sequence blended with animation and song and dance.
I feel like this with your supermarket scene. But the jubliant 'got nothing to lose' choreographed sequence is too short and comes off as bad behaviour and vandalism instead. I'd personally go for it in a bigger way if the audience is in on why she behaves this way. I'm going to assume she knows she has nothing to lose, no-one can hurt her cause she knows her fate? If not, I'm confused again.
The Hospital sequence/Antonio Banderas etc., almost lands for me but it's also a bit messy? Do you need the Felipe gross out scene? Don't worry, I'm not a fan of Bridesmaids either. Most people think bodily-fluid jokes are hilarious. I'm just not one of them.
Your character descriptions are spot-on, like I said. The only ones I balked at slightly were the brutish and not quite brutish Nurses. The rest are perfect and put me in a good mind for the comedic moments that ensue.
Okay this bit too -Larry sure did move on fast to Brenda without at least a time shift/segue in the scene header.
Overall, this feels like a Forever Young / Father of the Bride
You hooked me good, but it needs filling out a bit imho. I feel like you took too many shortcuts. And at times it's inconsistent and contradictory with characters and what they say.
There's so much terrific stuff in here comedy-wise. It's the blending with the utterly serious stuff that's hard to combine. But you're onto something very entertaining and unique definitely.
I'll probably have more on my re-read, if you want it?
I didn't go into typos etc., mainly cause there aren't many, and you wanted more in terms of story.
Very nice, Steve. Just add more to it I think.