Directed by Judd Apatow
Written by Judd Apatow & Jake Kasdan
Music by Lyle Workman
Will Ferrell (Peter Raimi)
Sigourney Weaver (Janet Pascal)
Seth Rogen (Lyle Maguire)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Trent Steele)
Anna Faris (Anna Holmes)
Leslie Mann (Jerry Raimi)
John C. Reily (Adam Sugarman)
Paul Rudd (Tom Jett)
Tagline: "Sometimes the Perfect People Really Are the Worst"
Synopsis: It is January and it is time to start filming next summers studio tentpoles.
Newly appointed President of Dreamline Productions, Janet Pascal (Sigourney Weaver), the first women president of the prestigious studio, is assigned to green light the studios summer blockbuster.
With an unheard budget of $350 million, Janet isn’t going to fail. Looking at older box office hits; she concocts what “should” be the perfect film.
Step one: The source material-Over 73.86% of the top 100 box office hits were based off of something. 10 of the top 10 involved special effects. 8 out of the 10 involved a creature and 6 out of the top 10 involved a love story. Janet comes across the new hit book, ‘Barry Potter and the Wizard’s Rock’, a worldwide success with 10 more installments coming out based on the author’s real life childhood of a secret magic school. Janet has seemed to hit the jackpot. However when the books writer, Adam Sugarman (John C. Reily) seems to be persistent about owning the books rights, the production budget is now down to $320 million with hit screenplay writer, Lyle Maguire (Seth Rogen), adapting it.
Step two: The director-67.16% of hit film directors have little experience with large scale productions, and only have a few cult hits under their belts. Janet comes across cult horror director and special effects master, Peter Raimi (Will Ferrell). Peter accepts but with a price, the budget down to $295 million and the special effects, bringing the budget down to $145 million.
Step three: The actors-89.46% of the top hit films male lead is a younger famous star that is just breaking out. The choice is obviously the dreamy action star coming off of the hit trilogy, ‘Mission: Ultimatum’, Trent Steele. Trent demanding a record breaking $100 million salary, the budget is now down to $45 million. The next pick is the female lead. 92.41% of the lead actresses in hit films have a wholesome image and the angelic pop super star, Anna Holmes (Anna Faris) is an obvious pick with a salary price at $50 million. The film budget, $-5 million.
Step four: FILM! However during the production of the highly anticipated film, a tornado destroys half the set, making the budget $-48 million and other unexpected delays set the film back down another 50 million, the film now in debt of over 100 million. But that isn’t even the worst!
The director is caught in an anti-Semite scandal, having a rant after getting fined a late-fee at a local video store. In the meantime, his wife, Jerry Raimi (Leslie Mann), is caught in a sex tape scandal, but with screenwriter Lyle Maguire, after Peter returns the wrong video, having the media believe that Peter did it on purpose.
Lead actress, Holmes’ tummy is expanding, rumored to be pregnant with the much older action star, Tom Jett’s (Paul Rudd) baby, however caught in numerous pictures downing shots of tequila she might be in more trouble than expected. Trent, who in early test screenings is being type-cast for his previous role in the hit trilogy, is also on the cover of the tabloids after being misquoted saying a derogatory term for homosexuals and what he says during his live apology broadcast might be worse than the misquote!
With Janet trying to help with rumor control, the biggest hit comes out two weeks before the films release when the books writer, Adam Sugarman is called out for the book being fake. That there is no such thing as a hidden wizard school, just a giant fabrication and media giant, Opal, who put the film on her book list, creating much of its success, is threatening to sue.
As the stars of the film are going from America’s Sweethearts to America’s Most Wanted and the films already extraordinary budget is escalating to half a billion dollars, Janet Pascal will do anything to keep her dream job…even as much as the stars want to be in the spotlight.
What the Press would say:
“Two thumbs ALL THE WAY up!”-Ebert & Roeper
“A Satirical Look at Hollywood that is Hilarious!”- People
“A+! Apatow is a True Comic Genius, and this Film is Him at His Best!”-Entertainment Weekly
“Hilarious, Outstanding, Film of the Year!”-Rolling Stone Magazine
TENTPOLE! Is just one of those films that you can watch over and over and over again and never get tired of it one bit. A satirical look at the behind-the-scenes Hollywood TENTPOLE!, by the producers of America’s Sweethearts is surely Award-worthy.
Judd Apatow does it again, but grows as a director with different styles, looking much like a documentary at points, as if you were really there. Jake Kasdan also writes the screenplay with Apatow, and knowing what it is really like in the industry, gives us an in-depth look of what Hollywood doesn’t want you to know, in a way that only an insider can tell. From how the stars will do anything to stay in the limelight to the lesser seen, studio heads and what they will do to succeed.
Sigourney Weaver is brilliant as the head of the studio. Acting comedic with a straight-face and excelling in the dramatic scenes with the desire to succeed; she has the perfect balance of character with deep understanding.
Ferrell is hilarious as usual. His anti-Semitic rant is a highlight and does have a nice straight-forward scene, knowing that he can do it from films like Stranger than Fiction.
A major surprise is Jake Gyllenhaal in his first comedic role and after this, probably many more to come. Jake’s memorable in a hilarious scene where people keep referring to him as his character in ‘Mission: Ultimatum’. Gyllenhaal lets loose and has some of the best lines in the film.
Anna Faris adds more depth to her character, something we have never really seen her do before, and is as funny as can be too.
John C. Reily is side-splitting, believing that he actually went to a wizard school and Apatow regulars, Mann, Rogen, and Rudd don’t disappoint in roles that offer each of them their own unforgettable scenes.
Come Oscar-time TENTPOLE! is sure to be a hit.
*Dedicated to James Somerton for letting me borrow and hopefully not defame, the name of his prestigious studio.
Best Director: Judd Apatow
Best Screenplay: Jake Kasdan & Judd Apatow
Best Original Score: Lyle Workman
Best Actor: Will Ferrell, Jake Gyllenhaal
Best Supporting Actor: Seth Rogen, John C. Reily, Paul Rudd
Best Actress: Sigourney Weaver
Best Supporting Actress: Anna Faris, Leslie Mann