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MAGGIE'S WAGER
By Martha Porter Fiszer

GENRE: Romance, Comedy
LOGLINE:

When a dying, self-help guru who's all about honesty wants to make amends for the lies she lived, she bets on her oblivious husband and exes to carry out a secret, posthumous plan for redemption that quickly devolves into a scrappy, man-brain competition.

SYNOPSIS:

Bright and charismatic TV therapist, MAGGIE THANE, (50-something, looks like Tea Leoni or Sharon Stone) is at the top of her game -- with best-selling books, a world-class retreat and new smash-hit reality series, called Truth Is, as evidence of her success. But the real truth is that the woman who preaches honesty to millions has some eyebrow-raising secrets of her own. Namely a corporate-crushing gambling addiction and serious issues with infidelity.

When she learns she must undergo life-threatening surgery, the queen of honesty is tinged with guilt. So she devises a plan that, if she dies, will allow her to show the world the true MAGGIE THANE and make amends for the millions of dollars she’s pissed away at the track.

But MAGGIE’s plan is a real gamble because it relies on a synchronicity of events guided by her long-time friends, LINNY and NAN, along with the unpredictable actions of her clueless husband, STEVE, who’s checked out of the marriage because of his wife’s fondness for other men and horse racing.

The plan begins to unfold at her funeral. At MAGGIE’s behest through her attorney, nine men are summoned into a private room. They are: widower, STEVE, totally baked and confused; ED, the slick and deceptive CEO of Maggie’s empire; her two painfully needy ex-husbands, MARK and TODD; her insecure publicist; former business partner; sage yoga instructor; awkward divorce attorney; and favorite hottie-hipster delivery guy. The unlikely group is granted ten million dollars and charged with creating a charity in MAGGIE’s name. They are told they must agree unanimously on a cause, a name and a director for the organization or there will be no goodwill. The catch is no one can leave the room until the task is complete.

What ensues is a lot of posturing, fistfights, head scratching and confessions as the unlikely group struggles to fulfill what they believe to be MAGGIE’s dying wish, and as the men discover they share nothing in common -- except for MAGGIE’s bed.

What they don’t know is that hidden cameras are recording their sequestered antics and the many truths that are being told about MAGGIE and about their lives. If all goes according to plan, the video will make for a great memorial episode of MAGGIE’s show, Truth Is.

But all bets are off when STEVE divulges that MAGGIE’s honesty empire is totally bankrupt. This sets off ED, the CEO of Honesty Corp, who takes offense to STEVE’s insinuation of mismanagement. He pulls the plug on their mission and the group disbands.

STEVE returns to the empty life he once shared with MAGGIE. He copes with the loss of their worldly possessions due to the bankruptcy by focusing on volunteer work in inner city school computer labs.

ED, who is now under suspicion of fraud, leaves the country. And the seven other lovers and enablers from the funeral go about their lives, each left to his own reflections and delusions about his relationship with MAGGIE.

Yet, despite the appearance of failure, MAGGIE’s plan continues to unfold as all of the characters lives and intentions crisscross in random ways.

In the end, the truth about MAGGIE’s life is revealed and society benefits from her estate – two remarkable feats given the complex personalities and events encountered along the way. But we are left to wonder, is it luck that earns MAGGIE the payoff she hoped for? Or is it her stunning ability to see people for who they really are? Chances are, it’s a little of both.

WGA #2062834

Nathaniel Baker

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