Review of: Czechmate (Rev 2) 

reviewed by andrewkula on 11/26/2007
Credited Review
andrewkula
Great title Credited Review
David & Bob,

I had a lot of fun reading Czechmate. The title is clever, there are a lot of visual gags and solid jokes ("Beverly Hills Ninety Thousand Two Hundred Ten"), and the story moves along nicely. From the start, both Bob and Jody were easy to relate to and easy to like even though they have clear problems and flaws. Plus, we get a good sense of what each of them needs from a (czech)mate, and they seem to compliment each other really well. The setting takes us into some great locations, from the glitz ang glamour of Prague to the glitz and glamour of Branson - parallel, but painfully different. Overall, it was really amusing and entertaining throughout. I also have some suggestions for you:

1. I'd like to see more focus on Jodi's career at the end. Aside from finding the right guy, we don't really see any change in her life. Early on, we know that her dream job is to do makeup for a talk show. This comes in handy when she needs to disguise herself, but we never get an answer to the question of what kind of job she can get with her talents. Maybe someone should hear about her schemes, be impressed with the quality of her work, and offer her a dream job at a theater or studio. At the end of Mrs. Doubtfire, we see how Daniel's scheme leads to an improved relationship with his kids AND a dream job hosting a TV show, and I think a similar approach would work well in Czechmate.

2. The children's theater seems arbitrary. Mrs. Hajek mentions something about Mrs. Novotny's "pipe dreams" but we don't get any clear indication of what they are. Later, we see Mrs. Novotny (as Iron Eagle) at a rehearsal, but it doesn't seem to have a strong connection to the plot or themes of the story. When the whole plot to dupe Bob turns out to be Mrs. Novotny's plan to finance her children's theater, it feels like a zany ploy for laughs that is too much of a stretch even for this story. Kids doing Kafka can be funny, but it has to have a stronger grounding for it to work, at least for me.

3. The story could make more use of Bob's musical talents. With a main character as a musical prodigy, it seems like he should do more to utilize his talents. There was a good scene where he transitions from classical to Pink Floyd on the cello. Maybe this this display, combining his two worlds (his mother's old-fashioned, Czech, & stuffy / Jody's young, Chicago, & fun) should get more prominent placement. Between the children's theater and the wedding at the end, it seems like there are a few natural "performance" places where Bob could bring harmony to his two worlds through music.

4. I think this "Czechmate" trip misses a lot of opportunities for humor with supporting characters. Who else is going on this voyage to find a Czech bride? What are their dates like? Movies like 40 Year Old Virgin make great use of a core of supporting characters to amplify the humor around the hero while we can still take him somewhat seriously. I think it might be a good idea to have Bob befriend 2-3 other clients so we can laugh at some of their misadventures and culture clashes.

I think this script is well on its way and, it's in capable hands. I wish you all the best, and I hope my suggestions are helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or you want to discuss anything further. Good luck!

- Andy

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