Broke-Ass Romantic Comedy Pitches


Listen up, I took a handful of Film classes in college, watch tons of foreign movies on my home projector, and could be seen as what some may call a “film snob” (actually that last part’s not true– unless citing my favorite flick as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is suddenly seen as pretentious).  Also, I’m not one of those honey-dipped cream puffs who dreams of meet cute-ing my Prince Charming when our French Bulldogs’ leashes entangle during our respective golden hour strolls through Central Park.  Let me put it simply– my name might be Carrie, but I couldn’t care less about finding myself a Mr. Big.  That being said, I can’t be considered your typical lover of movies of that fall anywhere near realm of the chick flick.  “Typical” being the operative word in that last statement, because I actually totally freakin’ love myself some rom-coms.

The thing that I adore about romantic comedies is that they deal with the most beautiful, simple human emotion– love– and blow it up it into some glitter-dusted spectacle full of candlelit piano playing, cutesy banter, and sassy gay best friends in jaunty neck scarves.  They’re hilarious, ridiculous, fantastical, and highly entertaining.  But, as we all know, real-life love isn’t an Elton John concert– sometimes it’s as simple as finding someone who will split a pineapple pizza with you, and not complain that that it’s weird and they wanted pepperoni instead.

Like the awesome Mindy Kaling, I’ve also always secretly dreamt of writing a rom-com, but I find The Bachelor-ish hot air balloon rides, brightly-colored satin eveningwear, and swanky exposed-brick penthouses somehow afforded on a freelance writer’s salary completely unrelatable.  For this reason, I plan on penning my rom-com For The People, the broke-ass people in particular.  Here are some potential plot lines that deal with subjects a penniless girl like me can get behind:

Hot-Sauced Lovers:  Girl seriously loves burritos.  Girl moves from California to NYC and seriously cannot find good, cheap burritos.  Enter: her handsome prince, charging forth to steal her heart and save her stomach on his gallant white… taco truck.  After an initial meeting where Girl notices Taco Boy’s sexy, strong hands that perfectly roll taut burritos (this is important: nobody likes a sandbag that oozes the moment you bite into it), and an extended flirtation in which things start to get– sorry in advance for the bad joke– spicy, Taco Boy asks girl out by slipping off his latex gloves, and scrawling his number in Sharpie on the outside of a foil-enveloped, extremely taut burrito.  I envision hands-on, suggestive, cooking lessons that end in the bedroom; a lot of sitting on the curb, eatin’ fish tacos and looking longingly into each other’s eyes; and a scene in which they joyride in the taco truck and Taco Boy let’s Girl drive, but she doesn’t know stick so she wrecks the transmission and really gets him into some deep shit at work.  Is this a tortilla-wrapped love for the ages, or will it eventually succumb to Taco Boy’s lack of ambition beyond working two shifts a week at a food truck, and the ever-present smell of carnitas?

I actually have to credit my friend Jesse for the incredible title on this one– get it?  Like “Star-Crossed Lovers,” but with a Latin flair!  Just has me in stitches.

The Manny:  A recently-divorced, frigidly bitchy “career woman” loses her nanny when the girl runs off with a wealthy, older financier.  Power Bitch doesn’t know what to do– she needs someone to take care of her sticky-handed, bowlcut-sporting, freckle-faced problem child with an exotic name like “Bali,” while she’s off running that women’s mag or whatever Power Bitches do.  She places an ad on Craigslist, to which a 32 year-old, long-haired, “Jack of All Trades, Master of None,” who just lost his job working two shifts a week at a taco truck, responds with a fake resume.  In a desperate situation, Power Bitch hires Jack without even really interviewing him, only to find out later– when she comes home to find her apartment covered in mac n’ cheese, feathers, and Tonka trucks– that he really doesn’t have any experience in childcare whatsoever.  She fires Jack on the spot, but he reapplies later, disguised as a sweet-yet-butch old lady with an English accent, and a name pieced together from random words in the newspaper.  No, wait– actually, Jack ends up using his powers of persuasion– and charming good looks, wink wink– to persuade Power Bitch to let him keep his position.  Raising little Bali helps man-baby Jack finally grow up, man-baby Jack helps Power Bitch chill out, sparks fly, Bali gets a new daddy, Jack gets a sugar mama, and no one talks like Fran Drescher.  That’s how he became… “The Manny”!

Gilmore Guys:  Two individual witty-banter-and-saddle-shoes enthusiasts spot Gilmore Girls: Season 3 DVDs under the “Free Stuff” section of Craigslist, and are both all like, “OMG, that’s when she leaves that boring toe-wart Dean for greasy-headed heartbreaker Jess, OMG– best season everrrr!” (and yes, they’re both straight guys, because everyone, male or female, gay or straight, old or young can get behind Gilmore Girls– it was the show that united the masses).  They both decide to go after that boxed set, and end up arriving at it’s curbside location at the Exact Same Time.  Dilemma: who gets the goddamn boxed set?!  There’s an initial Luke and Lorelai-esque (platonic) chemistry, so the two bros engage in sassy, pop cultural reference-peppered debate about who’s broker, lonelier, and deserves free DVDs of a show made for nerdy teenage girls more.  The debate turns into day drinking at the local dive, which turns into three-and-a-half hours of deeply discussing life, love, and emotions, which turns into wandering around in the park at sunset, splitting a giant cookie, petting other people’s dogs, and getting photo booth pictures taken together.  Eventually, the guys decide on joint custody of the DVDs, stumble back to one of their apartments, watch some kick-ass episodes Gilmore Girls, and eat burritos while lying on the floor together.  A true bromance.

Other possible broke-ass meet-cute locations include: the free clinic, the public library, a Coinstar machine, reaching for the same Hawaiian shirt at the Salvation Army, Couchsurfing.net, Craigslist.org, trying to pretend that they’re eating dollar pizza for lunch because they actually want to, getting bendy at free yoga classes, slurping up the free wi-fi at the local cafe for six hours, lurking a little too long in the magazine section, and some cheapo dumpling joint in Chinatown.  Real, broke-ass love is everywhere, people, and it deserves to be represented in the least-respectable genre of cinema known to Man!  Let’s make a broke-ass rom-com happen!  So, if you’re some sort of Hollywood big wig who by chance reads this website– honestly, don’t you want to buy one of these gold-plated ideas?  I’m in dire need of a career upgrade– this exposed-brick penthouse, and my brightly-colored satin eveningwear collection ain’t gonna pay for themselves.

Photo credit: The Daily Meal

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About the author

Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven is a natural-born storyteller from California, but she lives in New York now. She likes dogs, nail art, and Mexican food, but mostly she likes scoring sweet deals at thrift stores. She tends to have a flair for the dramatic.