Synopsis: A group of friends decide to go on an adventure to stifle a quarter-life crisis.
About: This is that million dollar spec that sold with Superbad star Jonah Hill as one of the writers. Not sure if he’s attached to star (though I assume he is) and whether that had any influence in the script getting sold. Very skeptical of this one at first, but then I saw that Matt Spicer and Max Winkler were the other two writers. They wrote one of my favorite scripts of last year, “The Ornate Anatomy Of Living Things” about a man who finds out there’s a museum dedicated to his life. Winkler is the son of Henry Winkler – yes, The Fonz.
Writers: Jonah Hill & Matt Spicer & Max Winkler
Joe is unhappily engaged to a woman so ready to get married she trumps those freakshows on The Bachelor. All Neil cares about is getting high and fucking ugly women. Harry’s dad barely knows he exists. The three are stuck in that strange 20-something malaise where they’re not sure if they should hang onto the past or leap into the future. When Joe finds The Adventurer’s Handbook at a local yard sale, however, he’s convinced that the three friends need to go on an adventure of their own in order to become men.
Because the group doesn’t have any money to fund the adventure, they’re forced to approach their old elementary school “friend” Sadoff (if friend means they hate him more than life itself). Sadoff’s since become a Josh Groban like superstar (extremely cheesy music – think the vocal equivalent of Kenny G). Instead of just loaning them the money, however, he insists on coming along.
The four land in Cairo and meet Frank, an adventerous looking man who tells them he can get them on a plane to Pakistan. Frank has a few secrets, namely that he’s carrying some sort of “package” that a whole shitload of bad guys want. When they’re not looking, Frank stashes the package in Joe’s bag. He’s then killed just as the boys leave, which means whoever was chasing Frank is now chasing them. Their plane crashes in the deserts of Afghanistan and the group stumbles their way into a small vilalge.
Later the boys get captured by, I believe, that British guy on The Celebrity Apprentice. He takes them to some Burmes jail in the middle of the jungle. They blast their way out rambo style, escaping in a tugboat down the river, finding yet another village and…blah blahblah blahblah blah blah blah. Ahhhhhhh! I can’t take it anymore. The Adventurer’s Handbook is fucking awful. It’s soooooooooooo repetitive. This has to be one of the slowest comedies I’ve ever read. An awful awful script.
I say this without hesitation. I cannot believe for the life of me that this sold. And I am fucking beyond shocked that it sold for so much money. I feel bad for saying this but somebody out there is very very very stupid. This script is average at best and a disaster at worst. I don’t even think the premise is that great. I thought this was going to be about a book that gave them a specific adventure to go on. Finding treasure. Finding a sunken ship. Finding something, ANYTHING. Instead it stands in for a vague excuse to travel around the Middle East and get into “funny” situations (for the record, although I smiled a few times, I never laughed). The Handbook that is the catalyst of the movie has nothing to do with the movie at all!
I think one of the biggest disappointments with the script is that the sense of wonder and originaltity that was so present in “Living Things” is gone here. I’d go as far to say that there wasn’t a single original moment in the entire screenplay. Even the “twist” ending you could see coming from a mile away.
If there’s any good news here, it’s that, with a little traction from a previous script, you can sell trash. And for a lot of money at that.
[ ] trash
[x] barely readable
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius
What I learned from The Adventurer’s Handbook: I honestly don’t know what I learned here. The story doesn’t get going for 40 pages. The script itself is 128 pages. I guess if there’s anything to learn it’s that all those “rules” you’re supposed to follow to sell a spec script can be completely ignored. Particularly the one about making sure the script is good.