With the release today of What Happens in Vegas…, the Cameron Diaz–Ashton Kutcher comedy that proves romance isn't dead in American cinema ("There isn’t anything to say other than to note its insulting ugliness and ineptitude" —Manohla Dargis), we see that Hollywood has once and for all moved past its once blinkered view of movie titles — that they must be a funny pun or a witty turn of phrase, or the name of the main character in the movie, or come from a deathless line of dialogue, or Shakespeare/the Bible, or maybe at worst a classic-rock song lyric. What Happens in Vegas… signifies that it is totally okay for a screenwriter to think of just a thing that people say — maybe sort of an advertising catchphrase! — and then write an entire movie around it.
Well, why stop with What Happens in Vegas…? Here are ten other sayings we hope Hollywood adapts into movies soon. Feel free to borrow our pitches, after the jump!
1. The Show-Me State
"We scored with a movie based on Las Vegas' slogan, so why not a state motto? It's a quirky indie dramedy starring Paul Dano. It's set in Missouri, but we'll shoot it in Vancouver. A teenager growing up in Joplin goes on a road trip with his family to St. Louis to visit the Arch (we'll add the Arch in post). Along the way, the entire family gets arrested when the kid's goofy great-uncle streaks naked through Meramec Caverns."
"Based on the greeting popularized by Fonzie from Happy Days, this would be a love story set in a dystopian future in which the English language has been so degraded by popular entertainment that human beings communicate only in vowels. Ralph Fiennes and Emma Watson star."
3. Can You Hear Me Now?
"A touching drama about an Arctic explorer — we're thinking Will Smith, or at least Tom Cruise — who gets trapped in a cave and calls his wife (played by whoever) on the satellite phone. She gives him the strength to stay alive, et cetera. I guess there should be a third act. We'll work it out later."
4. Wha'choo Talkin' 'Bout, Willis?
"A stuttering, mumbling Tracy Morgan stars as agent David Willis, the FBI's least intelligible hostage negotiator. After one of his trademark malapropisms results in a bloody shoot-out with a religious cult, he'll have to earn back his job with the help of a beautiful speech pathologist (Rachel Dratch). When this doesn't actually work, the FBI rehires him anyway, because, come on, Tracy Morgan is hilarious."
5. A Loaf of Bread, a Container of Milk, and a Stick of Butter
"I like to think of this one as the traditional hero's journey, à la Joseph Campbell. Our heroine (Willow Smith) is sent to the grocery store by her mother (Erykah Badu), and must remember the three items her family needs to survive despite the dangers and temptations of her neighborhood. Based on the acclaimed short film."
6. It's Hard to Put Food on Your Family
"Steve Martin plays a father trying to get his wife and fourteen children through a global food shortage in this apocalyptic family road comedy inspired by the hilarious Bushism. After their hoarded supply of rice runs out, Martin & Co. drive around the country in a minivan, robbing supermarkets for food which — thanks to a shortage of cargo space — they're forced to place on top of themselves."
7. If You See Something, Say Something
"In this nail-biting actioner, Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell are partnered cops whose job it is to respond whenever someone reports an unattended package or a person in bulky or inappropriate clothing on a subway train or bus, even though it's never actually anything."
8. This Is Only a Test
"Jim Carrey plays an announcer for the Emergency Broadcast System in this postapocalyptic comedy — think Good Morning, Vietnam meets The Road. What's that I smell? The burning flesh of a million victims of fiery nuclear death? Or … Oscar?"
9. Excuse Me, Where's the Restroom?
"Okay, we've got a great romantic comedy about a couple who meets cute when they both need to use the same co-ed bathroom in a chic Manhattan nightclub. He insists on going first, but because of her chronic incontinence, she soils her expensive cocktail dress! She thinks he's a jerk, of course, and he has to win her over. It ends with a touching (and hilarious) climax in which he craps his pants while holding back the hordes attempting to use the sole Port-a-John at a small-town chili cook-off. In the coda, we'll see them married, in their new house, using side-by-side toilets they've had custom-installed! We're thinking Keira Knightley and James McAvoy."
10. He's Just Not That Into You
"It's a series of interconnected vignettes about the trouble that young people have making relationships work. I bet we could get a bunch of good actors if — wait, what?"
Earlier: These same guys pitched Ten Commercials That Would Make Even Worse TV Shows Than the Geico Cavemen