Eric's Movie Column is a column in which Eric D. Snider writes about movies. It runs “whenever.”
Most of you aren't important enough to have access to the plush, blood-stained offices where Hollywood executives make their decisions. Neither are we! But we are important enough to hire ex-CIA black-ops agents to infiltrate those offices and plant listening devices in the lamps and bongs. That is how we are able to bring you this uncensored transcript of the pitch meeting that led to "Tyler Perry Presents Peeples," coming to theaters this week.
The Pitch Meeting for 'Tyler Perry Presents Peeples'
AGENT: Good afternoon, gentlemen! I've got a project here that you are going to LOVE. In fact, you're gonna love it so much, you're gonna want to marry it.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Excellent!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Sounds great!
STUDIO EXEC #3: But I don't love the thing I'm already married to!
AGENT: Do you remember a little movie called "Meet the Parents"?
STUDIO EXEC #1: Remember it?? It's the only movie I've ever seen!
STUDIO EXEC #2: The only thing better than "Meet the Parents" is all the "Meet the Parents" sequels!
STUDIO EXEC #3: We're working on a new one, where they go fishing in the wintertime and stumble across a Klan meeting. It's called "Fockers, Ice Holes, and Sheet-Heads."
AGENT: That's -- I find that hard to believe.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Yeah, De Niro says he might turn it down.
AGENT: I find that even harder to believe.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Anyway, you were saying. "Meet the Parents."
AGENT: Yes, well, here's what I've got in mind. Think of "Meet the Parents" --
STUDIO EXEC #2: I've never stopped!
AGENT: -- but instead of all the characters being white, they're -- stay with me here -- black.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Whoa.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Amazing.
STUDIO EXEC #2: That farty dribbling you just heard was my brain leaking out of my head.
AGENT: I knew you'd love it.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Love it?? I want to marry, cheat on, and divorce it!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Love it?? I'm already planning the third sequel!
STUDIO EXEC #3: Love it?? I hardly knew 'er!
AGENT: My client is a talented woman who has written the screenplay and hopes to direct it.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Sure, sure, whatever. "Meet the Parents, But with Black People" practically writes and directs itself.
STUDIO EXEC #2: That's how "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" happened!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Somebody mentioned the idea, and three weeks later, it had written and directed itself.
STUDIO EXEC #3: I don't know if we can call it "Meet the Parents, But with Black People," though. There might be copyright issues.
AGENT: Yeah, we actually have another title in mind.
STUDIO EXEC #1: You know it has to involve a pun on the characters' last name.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Otherwise people won't know that it's a rip-off of the "Meet the Parents" trilogy.
AGENT: Will this work? The family that our hero is trying to impress is named Peeples, and the movie is called "Peeples."
STUDIO EXEC #1: Hmm. I would like it better if it were something like "We the Peeples."
STUDIO EXEC #2: Or "Party Peeples in the House."
STUDIO EXEC #3: Or "Soylent Green Is Made Out of Peeples."
AGENT: But if we simply call it "Peeples," that leaves the door open for not just one but MANY puns in the advertising taglines. "Not everyone is a Peeples person"; "She comes from good Peeples," and so forth.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Yes! Good thinking!
STUDIO EXEC #2: You see that title and that tagline on a poster and instantly you know: This movie is going to be stupid.
STUDIO EXEC #3: It'll clear $20 million opening weekend, easily!
AGENT: I agree. And we've dumbed down the script as much as we can without abandoning human language altogether.
STUDIO EXEC #1: We should probably take a look at it.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Yeah, when you say you've dumbed it down as far as it can go, we take that as something of a professional challenge.
STUDIO EXEC #3: It was my idea to remove all the humor from "Project X"!
AGENT: Of course I defer to your superior expertise, but I feel good about what we've got in the way of excruciating, unfunny comedy.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Is there a dog that humps somebody's leg?
AGENT: Of course there is. Even better, it's introduced in a way that doesn't make any sense! The intimidating potential father-in-law yells at our hero, "Don't run! You're gonna set off his instinct to mate!" And sure enough, it does.
STUDIO EXEC #2: So running away from this dog makes it horny?
STUDIO EXEC #3: That's not how dogs work!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Dumb!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Is there a bit where the guy gets caught doing something innocent that looks embarrassing because someone walks in at just the wrong moment?
AGENT: There are 73 such bits.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Does the screenplay have any references to a man unwillingly seeing another man naked, and being comically repulsed by the idea?
AGENT: I'm offended that you even have to ask.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Now, who are you thinking for the star? Will Smith won't do it, not for the tiny amount of money we're planning to spend.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Yeah, we can't get anyone who's top-lined a movie in the last five years.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Really, anyone whose name has ever been said out loud in a trailer is off-limits.
AGENT: We've already got confirmation from a very funny actor: Craig Robinson.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Perfect!
STUDIO EXEC #3: Never heard of him.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Perfect!
AGENT: Oh, he's great. He was in "Hot Tub Time Machine," and he plays Darryl on "The Office"...?
STUDIO EXEC #2: Wow, I haven't thought about "The Office" since it went off the air two years ago.
AGENT: Plus Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, the lieutenant from "Law & Order"...
STUDIO EXEC #3: All very talented!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Yes, everyone who sees the movie will think, "Oh, it's sad that So-and-So is in this."
AGENT: Terrific! I have one more name attached that might interest you: Tyler Perry.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Tyler Perry?!?
STUDIO EXEC #2: We love Tyler Perry!
STUDIO EXEC #3: He's made so many wonderful dollars for us!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Is he involved in this? Because you could have said that up front and saved us having to listen to you these last five minutes.
STUDIO EXEC #2: Tyler Perry is an automatic greenlight around here.
AGENT: Yes! He's onboard to produce. He just has one teensy request...
STUDIO EXEC #3: Yeah, yeah, "Tyler Perry Presents Peeples." We know the drill.
STUDIO EXEC #1: He's not involved creatively, is he?
AGENT: No, he's just putting up the money.
STUDIO EXEC #1: Even better!
STUDIO EXEC #2: The best Tyler Perry movies are the ones Tyler Perry has nothing to do with.
STUDIO EXEC #3: His name alone means an extra forty million at the box office, and a 20 percent increase in sarcasm in the reviews.
AGENT: I feel like there aren't very many good movies aimed at African-American audiences.
STUDIO EXEC #1: That's because good movies are hard to make!
STUDIO EXEC #2: Or so we've heard from people who have made them.
STUDIO EXEC #1: We're content to keep making moronic ones that pander to an underserved audience.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Ooh! I thought of another title! "You Can Fool Some of the Peeples All of the Time, and All of the Peeples Some of the Time, But You Can't Fool All of the Peeples All of the Time"!
STUDIO EXEC #1: Too long, and not true.
STUDIO EXEC #3: Fine.