Play It For Jenny – Script Treatment – Inspired by You Do Something To Me
Fade In. After losing more than 60 lbs., Jenny leaves her native New Jersey in early 1992 and drives to D.C., where she finds a job as a temp in a non-governmental organization. With her hands on action attitude, Jenny soon becomes indispensable at work and is offered a one-year contract. She becomes the social secretary to the executive director, John, whose busy life, particularly in an election year, has become too hard to handle by his senior assistant. Other secretaries in the group include Claire, a senior secretary, and Laura, a young woman who has just returned to the States after a year travelling the world with the Up With People troupe.
The NGO does a lot of work in Latin America and that it has close ties to the US Congress. By being John’s social secretary, Jenny deals with him on a personal level and she gets to interact with his wife and children as well. They develop a close relationship that can be compared to that of an older bossy sister, and a younger brother; although she’s much younger.
One day while riding Metro, Jenny catches the attention of the conductor, who welcomes her to the train through the PA system. None of the other riders is surprised. That’s the driver’s gimmick. Every morning Peter has a little chat with the passengers, he usually comments about the news of the day. Through the weeks, Jenny and Peter develop a friendly relation, although secretly he wishes more. They have a lot in common. For instance, they dislike how in all movies that take place in D.C. people go all the way to the Lincoln Memorial to have a conversation they could have at a café.
When Peter is offered a job as a sidekick on a morning radio show, he asks Jenny out to celebrate. She is hesitant but agrees to go out only if they go to Chez Jerry, a karaoke bar near Chinatown owned by Claire’s husband, Harry.
In the late 1980s, Disney had commissioned a series of animatronics to resemble Jerry Lewis. Executives were not sure if the French would come to the Euro Disney Park near Paris. The idea was to introduce Disney’s Nutty Jazz Session, a sort of Country Bear Jamboree, but with different versions of Jerry Lewis instead of bears. Few claimed the project was nixed when Disney executives couldn’t decide if the attraction should be in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. Nobody knew for sure how Harry ended up with the animatronics, but rumour has it that he got them at a storage facility auction.
When Jenny comes to Chez Jerry with Peter, she runs into Claire and Laura, who are charmed by Peter; they encourage Jenny to get serious with him. However, Jenny has made up her mind. She lets Peter know that she can only offer friendship. Jenny wants to keep her options open. Peter acquiesces but tells her he’ll find a way to get through to her. Hence, the “Play it for Jenny” campaign kicks off.
At the morning radio show where he works, Peter announces that there’s this girl he likes a lot, but she only wants to be friends with him. Could listeners call the station requesting them to play “You Do Something to Me” for Jenny? At first, he plays the Sinatra version, but as the campaign grows listeners start sending in recordings by other singers. Jenny is flattered to get all the attention, and although she’s still not keen to go out with Peter, she softens her attitude.
A few days before Clinton’s inauguration in early 1993, things started to change in Jenny’s life. Her mother comes for a surprise visit, which forces Jenny to deal with her past. Things at work are about to change; Laura decides to go on tour again with Up With People. After Disney and Jerry Lewis threaten to sue Claire’s husband, he decides to fold Chez Jerry. Claire takes an early retirement package, and both her and Harry move to the Eastern Seaboard.
It is only when John announces he’s leaving to take a position in the Clinton administration that Jenny realises why she hasn’t been able to accept Peter’s advances. There’s already a man in her life, John. She knows she’s not in love with him, but wonders why she’s made him such an import part of her life. It is only after she talks with her mother about her father walking out on them that Jenny understands what it has been going on.
On the day of the planned farewell party for John, Jenny walks into his office to say goodbye, she doesn’t attend the office celebrations. Instead, she walks over to the Lincoln Memorial where preparations for the Clinton Inauguration are on the way and Peter is doing a pre-record for his morning radio show.
There at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, she tells Peter she’s ready to give him a chance. Fade out.
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