When Todd Met Sallie: Reinventing the Romantic Comedy

I keep hearing that the romantic comedy genre is "dead," or at least suffering from a downturn in inspired story-telling. The real problem is movie makers have not yet been able to adjust to the immense social and cultural changes that have flowed from the Crash of '08 and ensuing Little Depression. But, that may be changing. Just imagine the pitch session for this story of opposites attracting:

When they were top executives at Citigroup Inc., Sallie Krawcheck and Todd Thomson had a well-known rivalry.

Mr. Thomson, Citigroup's swaggering young chief financial officer, would regularly challenge Ms. Krawcheck's performance numbers during her presentations to the management committee, according to Citigroup executives. Ms. Krawcheck, the high-profile head of the Smith Barney unit, would visibly roll her eyes during Mr. Thomson's flashy speeches, in which he would sometimes wear a leather jacket and blare rock music. Both were part of the horse race to succeed Citigroup founder Sanford I. Weill as CEO.

Why, they're the perfect odd couple!

Naturally, he's got the "athletic good looks, a talent for dissecting balance sheets, and a flair for cultivating the rich and powerful" that we would demand for our romantic comedy bad boy, while she's the "studious" type who would be the adult in the room. I am picturing a Citigroup X-mas party, where Todd - no doubt fresh from shagging a secretary - tells Sallie to "loosen up, bay-be!" after which she snorts derisively and climbs into a helicopter taking her to another board meeting, followed by a lonely Christmas dinner from room service.

Of course, Krawcheck and Thompson are not actually involved with one another. Not yet anyway. Right now, he's trying to poach some of her employees for his new hedge fund, while she's going to court to stop him. In Hollywood they call this "Act One." More important, you've got a story that practically tells itself. She needs a man, while he needs someone to tame him. It's romance among the ticker tape while Wall Street burns down around them, and Sallie models one outfit after another (you don't really have a romantic comedy unless the female lead can credibly be called a "style icon"). Look for it in theaters February 2012.

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