Friday, December 25, 2015

If 'How to Marry a Millionaire' Were Set in Present-Day San Francisco

Proposed Title: How to Join a Unicorn

Schatze Page (Cara Delivigne), self-proclaimed visionary, creative, and change-maker, just got out of a no-good gig at a phony startup. She is young. Broke. Idealistic. Naturally, her next move is to start an incubator in the most expensive neighborhood of San Francisco.

Schatze rents a Mission-style mansion in Sea Cliff. She invites one friend, the talented engineer Pola Debevoise (Kim Kardashian), whose good looks have held her back at previous programming positions, where she has not been taken seriously. Pola invites the tech salesgirl Loco Dempsey (Kirsten Dunst), who is not actually crazy. She just was born to two parents out of Berkeley.

(The owner of said mansion, former Google executive Freddie Denmark, is currently in Europe under suspicious circumstances. His latest Instagram, which showed a glass of chablis resting next to a worn copy of Albert Camus' L'√Čtranger strewn with a pair of heavy framed Christian Dior eyeglasses, suggests he decamped to France, but "location" was turned off.)

By day, Schatze, Loco, and Pola are elite escorts for socially-inept techies and product managers. They specialize in providing company during power lunches, product launches, and Ralph's runs (all three, in addition to their business savvy, are good with coupons.) By night, they convene on their outdoor patio to discuss headlines in Techcrunch over André and Nathan's hot dogs and online-shop at Delia's. Like any respectable start up-aspiring girls in Silicon Valley, all three dropped out of their senior years of high school in the past year.

One day Loco invites Tom Brookman (Tom Hardy) over for kombucha. Brookman, while attractive, wears a suit and tie. He actually listens to the women. He precedes every sentence with "Hey girl." Not really your obvious unicorn material. Brookman hits on Schatze, respectfully. He sends her lots of Snapchats. But: Fat chance. The first rule of Schatze's incubator is: Gentleman callers have got to wear a hoodie.

Schatze, meanwhile, has scored a networking-party invite from an older-twentysomething Snapchat engineer named J.D. Hanley (Jesse Eisenberg). It's in the Mission. Loco and Pola accompany her to the party and end up snagging business contacts of their own—an older Uber marketer (Hugh Laurie) for Loco, and an eye-patched foreigner (Olivier Martinez) who's a real smooth talker. All three go out for Blue Bottle coffee in Palo Alto afterwards. They drive two hours through traffic to get home.

Loco joins the marketer in Big Sur over the weekend for what he told her was "an Uber-related conference." In actuality, it is a private business meeting for his side project, a dating app for people who like to hike. Loco is ready to leave but Big Sur, unfortunately, appears to offer neither Wifi nor 4G. Loco comes down with a nasty cold incited by lack of climate control. The one perk to the otherwise disastrous trip is that she meets the marketer's driver, a California park ranger with a cabin on the top of a cliff. He teaches her how to camp. He is kind of hot. When she's with him, Loco doesn't even miss Candy Crush.

Pola gets on a plane that she thinks is headed for Rio to meet the boss of her eye-patched contact. It is actually destined for Cuba. On board, she coincidentally sits next to Freddie Denmark (Oscar Isaac), who reveals he is, in fact, a fugitive from justice. Pola has her own secret to tell. Pola wears non-subscription Warby Parkers in order to look less like, well, a programmer escort. He tells her eye damage is worse than being taken for a bimbo, even in Silicon Valley. It's love at first sight, basically.

J.D. rejected Schatze because he thinks she should pursue opportunities at a younger company. Feeling low, Schatze starts viewing Tom's Snaps. Mostly selfies of him by various feminist texts. One a group pic with Sheryl Sandberg. The last, a picture of his new tattoo, which reads "I'm With Betty (Frieden)." She is perturbed. She nevertheless agrees to go on a date. The two grab burgers at Super Duper. They smoke weed in Golden Gate Park. She tells him about all her visionary, creative, change-making ideas.

Just as she starts to warm to Tom, J.D. shoots Schatze a text. "ive made a mistake. srry." It's a job offer, a project manager job: rote work, but not a bad way to break into that unicorn life. There would be a high salary, but, more importantly, free hot dogs every day at Snapchat's cantine. She tells him she will let him know her decision at Techcrunch Disrupt, which is taking place the next weekend.

Schatze decides on a white dress and matching floppy hat that no one recommended she wear. She enjoys the flowers J.D. sent her, and the self-driving car. However, once she gets to Disrupt, the entire plan is, well, you know.

Here's what happens: Loco and Pola meet her at the Nathan's stand. They had both heard about her job offer and came to congratulate her. Loco is now an attendant in the Big Sur visitor's center, a job she got through the park ranger. She's happy. Pola is now a literary tourism social-media superstar working for Freddie Denmark. You can find their posts on IG and Twitter at #thelitlife.

Schatze notes how fulfilled they look, how challenged they say they are. She flees to the Disrupt bathroom. She stares into the mirror and contemplates the soul-crushing emptiness of the project manager gig. She also thinks about her attraction to Tom's unplugged, weed-hazed approach to life. She throws her iPhone in the toilet and tries to flush it. It gets stuck in the bowl.

Schatze finds J.D. at the Snapchat booth. She feigns an ankle injury, gets him to escort her, limping, outside, and then declines his offer. He asks her if there's been another. She mentions Tom Brookman's name. Says she'll probably end up a teacher's assistant or a paralegal. J.D. knows she's deluded. Tom is actually the CEO of Mythological Creatures, Inc. J.D. doesn't tell her, but he does go fetch Tom.

"Do you think I oughta tell her?" - Tom
"Are you nuts? She clearly prefers teachers and lawyers to unicorn CEOs. What do you want to do? Disillusion the poor girl?" - J.D.

Schatze leaves the building. Tom runs after her, even though his new Supergas are really tight. Schatze yells at him when he catches up to her. But her voice is soft.

Schatze, Pola, Loco, and men get together at Super Duper Burger for a celebratory nosh. They joke about how much stock they have to their name. All believe Tom is joking about his 20% shares of Yahoo and Lyft. That is, until he goes to input tip on the table's iPad. $1,000.00. "Keep the change," he tells the voice-recognition system. For dramatic purposes only.


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  2. Liked the original movie. Wonder if it would wear well? Loved *An Officer & A Gentleman* when it first came out. More recently, it had me foaming at the mouth shouting, 'Go to school. Get your own ass out of Dodge.' Sometimes one shouldn't go back.