Review of: The Last Great American Movie 

reviewed by signman on 03/10/2010
Credited Review
signman
Even broad comedy must be grounded in reality Credited Review
I have to be honest with you. This review is going to sound harsh. I didn't like much in this script. It was frequently nonsensical, poorly structured, and way too chatty.

On a positive note, I did like Duncan (though his dialogue needs trimming) and his relationship with the equally likable Michelle. They should be the core love interests against the rest of the mayhem around them. The animal fighting was a fun (if way un-PC) idea, though you would have to have some negative outcome to Eddie for pursuing this all. (beside the general mayhem) I think the Kangaroo against Evan fight was the highlight and more acceptable version of this. You just won't get anyone in the US to finance or distribute a movie that has such inhumane animal treatment with no repercussions. In effect, Eddie might be viewed as more of a villain than Miso, which could be a huge problem.

On the negative side, there were quite a few little things that could be addressed, but there are some major problems here that must be corrected. First, you need to cut about 40 pages of dialogue. All the improv scenes and audition scene, definitely the opening and closing scene, and all the rambling factoid segments. The rest of the dialogue needs to be trimmed to its essential parts. An example is the Kinkos scene. Funny line where the employee says, "Please, man. I work at Kinkos. I have nothing. I just want to see something real before I die." Eddie should then reply and scene is over. The employee continuing with some monologue and repeating in different ways how lame his world is does nothing except kill the scene. Get in, get out. Don't gloss over details, but have details that move the story along.

Develop the characters. Duncan should be the protagonist (it's unclear) because Oliver is completely unlikable and doesn't learn anything or overcome his flaws and I didn't care if he got Natalie (who should be trimmed down to a side character as Michelle is much more interesting and you want her and Duncan to get together)

No Clooney or Rock or anyone. The opening on a fake movie is overdone, having unattainable stars used unnecessarily, and the list of other don't in the opening are only going to make the reader toss your script before reading page 3. Get to the story at hand. There's no tie in between the Clooney Miso and the "real" one, so it doesn't work anyway.

You put a lot of effort into doing these visual segways between unconnected scenes in the beginning, but do none of this later on. You should focus more on tying the scenes together dramatically instead anyways, but do try to avoid jarring transitions. This will probably fix itself a lot as you develop the story.

You do get some things going toward the end of the script, but a lot of this action needed to happen earlier. Also, make sure the action makes sense. Even in a broad comdedy, the action has to be grounded somewhat. The chasing SUV colliding with the police car and flipping over and over and then just zooming after the car with a missing tire being driven by a nervous guy who was uncomfortable in the car in the first place? And the L.A. geography used was not defined enough for someone who didn't know it to picture, and non-sensical to someone who actually knows L.A..

In all this action, take the time to actually picture it in your head and then describe that picture. This is both for believability and to paint the complete picture. For instance for the cage match in the warehouse, there's no detail as to how big a crowd it is (we don't even know there's one until the bear escapes) and what kind of people are there (cigar-smoking gamblers, frat boys, NRA activists). The potential of the bear chasing one of the leads is also dropped. No on cares where the bear goes afterward and all the tension that could be mined from this scene evaporates.

I would really suggest forgetting dialogue for now and looking at your plot. Use the 3-act structure or something else as a guideline, but you have to have bigger setups and better payoffs, as well as a constant build through to the end. Read "the Hangover" and take a look at that scripts structure. Your movie is different, but that might help guide you as you work on realizing your full story.

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