The Gift: An Abridged Script

FADE IN

INT. FURNITURE STORE

JASON BATEMAN and REBECCA HALL are shopping for their ginormous NEW GLASS HOUSE when they run unexpectedly into JOEL EDGERTON.

JASON BATEMAN
Gosh, honey, here we are a photogenic couple who’ve just purchased an upscale home. We’re happily in love, I’ve got a brand new job, and we’re about to embark on a fresh start. What are the odds that anything could go wrong?

REBECCA HALL
(under breath)
Well, I’m guessing there are some ripples in the horizon. After all, you just don’t snap your fingers and…

JASON BATEMAN
What was that, honey?

REBECCA HALL
Nothing, dear. A toast to our perfect life! Wait, who’s that guy that’s been shadowing us exuding creepy awkwardness vibes?

JOEL EDGERTON
It’s me, JOEL EDGERTON, JASON’s old friend from school. Remember?

JASON BATEMAN
(hesitates a little too long)
Oh right. Nice to see you again. Do drop by anytime you happen to be in the neighborhood.

JOEL EDGERTON
Will do!

EXT. THE HOUSE – THE VERY NEXT DAY

JOEL EDGERTON
(knocks on door)
Hey, can JASON come out to play?

REBECCA HALL
No, he’s at work. Didn’t you overhear the part of our conversation where he mentioned his NEW JOB?

JOEL EDGERTON
Only the part where the delivery guy announced your address. By the way, I brought you a GIFT.

REBECCA HALL
Thank you. And thanks for the GIFT that arrived yesterday on our doorstep, too.

JOEL EDGERTON
Don’t mention it.

REBECCA HALL
Oh, and here’s our adorable DOG. Geez, it’s kind of sickening how perfect our life is, I mean seems.

JOEL EDGERTON
Well, I couldn’t be happier for you. Shall we continue this awkward conversation inside?

REBECCA HALL
Be my guest.

JOEL EDGERTON
(goes into a room that appears to be a nursery)
Do you have kids?

REBECCA HALL
No. But we’re hoping to soon. By the way, my husband has a monkey phobia.

JOEL EDGERTON
Good to know.

JOEL continues to VISIT and leave GIFTS, until REBECCA finally invites him over for DINNER, which makes JASON as happy as if he had received the news that he needed a root canal. Although JOEL seems to have a good enough time.

POST-DINNER

JASON BATEMAN
(real line)
Does that guy seem odd to you?

REBECCA HALL
Well, maybe a little on the Asperger’s side, but I’m sure he’s harmless.

JASON BATEMAN
Oh no. He was weird when we were growing up, and he hasn’t changed.

REBECCA HALL
So you were once friends with this guy. That seems hard to…Wait, what are you doing?

JASON BATEMAN
(writes “Weirdo” on the fridge)
Just furthering the plot. It could use it.

REBECCA HALL
Oh grow up.

Surprisingly enough, JOEL comes over the next day, and sees the fridge. Even more surprisingly, he invites JASON and REBECCA over for dinner.

INT. McMANSION of ONE UPMANSHIP

JASON BATEMAN
So, JOEL, just what is it exactly that you do now? I mean REBECCA and I both have yuppie movie jobs that allow us to live in a glass house, at least my wife did pre-breakdown, yet you’ve been curiously circumspect about your career path post military.

JOEL EDGERTON
(phone rings)
Excuse me a moment.

JASON BATEMAN
Let’s go snoop!

REBECCA HALL
No…Oh, all right.

JASON BATEMAN
This guy is obsessed with you. And look – women’s clothes!

REBECCA HALL
So he’s living with someone of the female gender. Told you he wasn’t obsessed with me.

JASON BATEMAN
Maybe he’s a cross-dresser. Anyway, he’s definitely weird and almost certainly has a very small penis.

REBECCA HALL
Gee, how is it that we’ve lived together for a substantial amount of time, and the fact that you have a CRUEL STREAK has never come to light until we bumped into JOEL?

JASON BATEMAN
I think we’d better get back down before he gets back.

JOEL EDGERTON
(re-enters)
Sorry. Look, I have a confession to make. This is my WIFE’s HOUSE, we’re in the middle of a nasty divorce.

JASON BATEMAN
Er…OK, listen. It’s been a few weeks, and while we appreciate all the gifts, it’s clear this relationship is never going to progress past the AWKWARD SMALL TALK STAGE because basically, I would rather castrate myself than spend another moment in your presence. So I think it’s time we took a break and saw other people.

JOEL EDGERTON
(frowns, says nothing)

JASON BATEMAN
Great, so now we understand each other!

But apparently, there has been a failure to communicate somewhere because first, the DOG DISAPPEARS and then the KOI FISH CROAK, and not only that, when JASON goes over to CONFRONT JOEL – he doesn’t even LIVE THERE!

INT. LIVINGROOM of DISTRAUGHTNESS

DETECTIVE
Oh yeah, JOEL EDGERTON has a police record. My guess is that he’s going to lose his job with Mr. and Mrs. McMansion, whose house he apparently borrowed to host you, so that should be punishment enough, don’t you think?

JASON BATEMAN
Look, this guy is stalking us, and we don’t even have his real address. Plus my wife’s trying to get pregnant again and already had a BREAKDOWN and PILL ADDICTION. A little help here would be appreciated.

DETECTIVE
Are you positive you didn’t leave the door unlatched? Also, fish aren’t the easiest pet to keep alive. Next time, try gerbils – they’re tough little guys.

JASON BATEMAN
Never mind, I should have realized that seeking help from MOVIE DETECTIVES would be less productive than banging my head against the wall.

REBECCA HALL
So what’s our next step – installing a computerized home security system which we can easily do because you work in that very field?

JASON BATEMAN
Nah. I’m too busy trying to get the big promotion, even though I’ve only been there a couple weeks, and in reality would barely have my desk set up and everyone’s names straight at that point.

REBECCA HALL
Should I at least stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond to pick up curtains? Right now our property is to obsessive stalkers as a Fourth of July cookout is to mosquitoes.

JASON BATEMAN
No, I’m just going to let you slowly unravel believing that JOEL is stalking you. Good times.

REBECCA HALL
Well, we’ve received a final note. What does JOEL mean when he says he was “willing to let bygones be bygones”?

JASON BATEMAN
(a little too quickly)
No idea.

REBECCA starts probing further and discovers that JASON has FILES on JOEL plus the guy he’s up against for the promotion. Also, at one point, she PASSES OUT unexpectedly, and somewhere in this chaos, manages to get PREGNANT.

INT. DR. EXPOSITION’s OFFICE

DAVE DENMAN
So what brings you in today?

REBECCA HALL
Actually, I lied. I don’t need a chiropractor, and I’m here under false pretenses.

DAVE DENMAN
There seems to be a lot of that going around lately.

REBECCA HALL
I hear you were friends with JASON growing up. Well, my perfect life is spiraling out of control at the speed of life, and I’m hoping you can help me. My husband has turned into J. Edgar Hoover, plus I heard that you and he knew JOEL growing up, and there was some kind of SCANDAL that involved JOEL’s dad’s burning him and ending up in prison. So I’d like some answers.

DAVE DENMAN
Oh jeez, yeah, JASON picked on JOEL a lot back in the day. Including starting a rumor that JOEL was gay, which was what sparked the whole thing – pardon the pun.

REBECCA HALL
So let me get this straight: JOEL manages to overcome trauma and somehow develop the capacity for forgiveness that would rival Mother Theresa’s, and JASON still acts like a dick as an adult?

DAVE DENMAN
That seems to the case. Luckily, I’ve apologized to JOEL so my conscience is clean. Also, my house has vinyl siding and is fully curtained.

REBECCA HALL
Well, WE are going to have a little talk when he gets home.

EXT. PARKING GARAGE AFTER JOEL GETS OFF WORK

JASON BATEMAN
So, JOEL, er…my wife says I should say sorry, so okay, I’m sorry. Now we’re cool, right? Everything forgiven?

JOEL EDGERTON
Um, generally, apologies tend to have remorse in them. Or contrition, guilt, any of those fun things.

JASON BATEMAN
Picky picky.

JOEL EDGERTON
Anyway, it’s too late. Like way, way too late.

JASON BATEMAN
(loses temper, starts to beat JOEL into a pulp)
How dare you not accept my apology after I took time off my important job to track you down and stand here humbling myself in this smelly garage?! You are so ungrateful!

INT. THE HOUSE – BIG CELEBRATION

JASON BATEMAN
Wow, I really got the promotion. It looks like being an asshole pays off.

REBECCA HALL
Yes, dear, and by now, you’ve totally endeared yourself to anyone watching this movie – if they happen to be a sociopath…Ah!

Heavy object hurtles through window, scaring the shit out of everyone.

JASON BATEMAN
It’s JOEL!

JASON’s BOSS
No, it’s the guy you screwed over to get the promotion.

JASON BATEMAN
Well, I’m not going to press charges. Let him go.

However, this is not the end of it. Possibly due to all the stress, REBECCA goes into early labor and is rushed to the HOSPITAL.

INT. HOSPITAL

JOEL EDGERTON
(limps into REBECCA’s room looking totally pulverized)
Hello, I’ve brought you another GIFT.

REBECCA HALL
Thanks. Hey, you haven’t seen my husband around anywhere, have you?

JOEL EDGERTON
I got him a gift, too. For old times sake. How’s the baby?

REBECCA HALL
Doing fine so far. Though it looks like JASON’s apology didn’t go quite as he reported.

JOEL EDGERTON
(real line)
Good people deserve good things. Which would be you. As for JASON, he’s finally getting what he deserves.

Meanwhile – JASON loses his JOB for being an UNETHICAL BASTARD, and thanks to a TREASURE HUNT of SORTS, realizes that JOEL may indeed be the FATHER of his SON. Also that REBECCA no longer wants anything to do with him. And JOEL’s limp turns out to be totally FAKE, as well as his ARM SLING.

AUDIENCE
I’m going to need a shower. And just what is the message of this movie: That if someone’s unconscious, it’s okay to do anything you want to the person who’s shown you nothing but kindness, including simulate sexual assault? If only one person witnesses it, and he’s a BULLY who needs KARMA to kick his ass, it didn’t happen?

DIRECTOR JOEL EDGERTON
No, that’s the MORAL of BLACK MASS. Keep trying.

AUDIENCE
Screw these mental gymnastics – now let’s get that shower!

END

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