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By Js Earls

GENRE: Action, Comedy
LOGLINE: A suicidal sit-com star hires a hit man to kill him, then reconsiders & finds himself, figuratively & literally, fighting for his life.


HUGO BOOME, once-famous comedian and star of Love Stinks, a sitcom about married sanitation workers, hasn't found much to smile about lately. Not only are his career and marriage spiraling down the proverbial drain, but — after a motorcycle accident involving a skunk and a delayed visit to his doctor — he is diagnosed with the most fatal disease in the world...rabies. This comes as no surprise to the man who believes his parents named him Hugo Boome for a reason. The same parents who, when Hugo was an infant, dropped him into an open manhole during another freak accident. Hopeless, yet too cowardly to kill himself, Hugo enlists the aid of childhood buddy/italian restaurant owner Jon Monticello ("Monti" for short) who has connections to the Italian mafia. With Monti's help, Hugo hires a hit-man named Charlie Tags (who secretly collects Precious Moments figurines). Hugo later calls his wife Jennifer — an actress he met on Love Stinks — to say "goodbye". Hugo gets her answering machine and, while leaving her a message he emotionally falls to pieces and decides he doesn't want to die. Unfortunately, Hugo can't get a hold of Monti or the hit-man to call the hit off. So Hugo leaves his hotel and frantically searches for Monti in the streets of Little Italy in New York where he is confronted by a group of New York's finest sanitation workers (obviously not big fans of Love Stinks) who knock Hugo out, take his wallet and unceremoniously drop him in a dumpster. As providence would have it, Hugo misses his own murder (which truly agitates Charlie Tags) and, still unable to reach Monti, decides to go on the run and, hopefully, find a way back to Los Angeles...and Jennifer. However, Hugo has no money or ID so he stows away on a truck headed for Chicago. Hugo then finds the comedy club where he got his first big break. The friendly, old manager remembers Hugo and lets him use the club's phone to call Jennifer, but she doesn't answer. He then tries their agent Nadia Nikitin who thinks Hugo is up to some sort of desperate publicity stunt and warns him not to tarnish Jennifer's name as well. Nadia also tells Hugo that she is dropping him as a client to focus on Jennifer's career, which — after years of being typecast because of Love Stinks — is finally on the upswing. She also informs Hugo that Jennifer landed a starring role alongside a popular male lead and has also just filed for a divorce. Crushed, Hugo tries Monti once more and, to his surprise, Monti picks up. He encourages Hugo and tells him he'll meet him at the club. Monti then calls Charlie Tags and tells him where to find Hugo. At closing time, Charlie Tags enters the club and, although Hugo is once more lucky enough to elude him, the friendly manager is shot and killed. Then, while the hit-man breaks into a gift store to grab his next Precious Moments figurine, the police put out an APB for Hugo — who, according to witnesses, was the last one to see the manager alive and is their primary suspect. The next day, Monti conveniently appears on the same street Jennifer lives on — claiming he's in town on business. Through the years, she had also become friends with Monti. Frequently, "harmlessly" (in her mind) flirting with him to tease Hugo. Against Jennifer's better judgment, she lets Monti cook her dinner. They catch the news and see that Hugo is now wanted for murder. Jennifer can't believe it, but Monti tells her Hugo was acting insane and that she certainly didn't deserve to be going through this. Then Monti leaves Jennifer with his phone number and a soft, "innocent" kiss on the cheek. Jennifer goes to bed, alone, with many mixed emotions. Across the country, Hugo escapes from Chicago with the help of Olive — a paranoid, anti- technology ex-girlfriend and her '78 AMC Pacer. However, news of the infamous Hugo Boome now being wanted for murder swiftly spreads across police, internet and other newswires. In Missouri, they narrowly escape from a town sheriff and switch from her Pacer to a pair of horses. Charlie Tags uses all the information at his disposal — including police radio frequencies — to track Hugo down. Charlie then accidentally kills a small-town witness in Oklahoma (who says he saw Hugo and Olive driving west on I-40) and compulsively has to find a store where he can buy a new Precious Moments figurine. It is now, in a flashback, that we learn Charlie Tags' mother gave him a Precious Moments figurine of a little boy praying after Charlie comes to her in tears, barely able to speak, but communicating that he had done something horrible. She tells him that, whatever it was, he was still a good boy inside — just like the figurine. Charlie never told her he accidentally bumped into a couple and made them drop their infant down an open manhole. Little Charlie just ran away, never knowing the infant miraculously survived. In Hollywood, Nadia is doing damage control and Jennifer — stressed beyond belief and with Nadia's encouragement — invites Monti to stop by her movie-set (which isn't far from the studio where they filmed Love Stinks) where they enjoy their time together. Elsewhere, Hugo and Olive come across an indian reservation near the New Mexico/Arizona border and spend the night with a group of Native Americans. The next day, Olive informs Hugo that she intends to stay here and live on the reservation. When Hugo goes to saddle up and ride on alone, he finds their horses are dead and Charlie Tags is waiting for him. The Native Americans help Hugo escape by delaying the hit-man and one of the teenagers gives Hugo his phone and motorcycle, a new 2010 Indian Chief — explaining that Jennifer's popular co-star sends them to different reservations every year, to soothe his guilty conscience. Hugo calls Jennifer as he races toward Hollywood and is shocked when Monti answers her phone (because she's busy filming). Monti then lectures Hugo about how he never deserved Jennifer or the charmed life he did...and that he's taking it all away from him. Shortly thereafter, just as he crosses the California border, Hugo is captured by the police and arrested. To Hugo's astonishment, fans are already picketing outside the police station as he arrives and, in the chaos, the hand-cuffed Hugo escapes. Other fans recognize Hugo, hide him in their van and vow to help him reach LA. On route, Hugo receives a call from Jennifer's phone and, assuming it's Monti, he starts threatening him — then hears Jennifer's terrified voice. She tells Hugo that Charlie Tags is holding she, Olive (who Charlie grabbed from the Reservation) and Nadia hostage. Then, Charlie rips the phone away and tells Hugo to come to the closed studio set of Love Stinks — without the cops . . . never mentioning or knowing about the crazed fans who are thrilled to learn they're heading for the set of their hallowed sitcom. Hours later, as Charlie and Monti argue while Jennifer and Olive size one another up with Nadia operating as a mediator, they are interrupted by a loud group of people entering the front door. Charlie takes the apparently lost group of tourists hostage with the others. The "tourists", who are actually the fans from the van, tell the others to move toward the Living Room set, away from the Alley set. Soon, the Love Stinks garbage truck comes crashing through alley and slams into Charlie — hurting, but not killing him. Monti picks up the hit-man's gun, fires at the driver, then races up, opens the door and finds only a mannequin in the remote-controlled prop truck. Slowly, the alley's fake manhole cover rises, Hugo climbs out and rushes at Monti, knocking the gun away from him as they struggle. Meanwhile, as Jennifer leads the other hostages out to the exit, holding the door for them, but the last in line, Olive, is shot in the back by Charlie's ankle revolver. Jennifer quickly kneels down to care for her. Across the room, Hugo and Monti roll near the open manhole as they struggle for the gun. Monti nearly knocks Hugo out, leaving his head over the open manhole as he grabs the gun, presses it against Hugo's head and tells him he would've been better off if he'd died when his parents dropped him down that stupid manhole. This revelation distracts Charlie enough for Jennifer to set off the fire alarm. Charlie is unfazed, his attention now on Hugo — and Monti who's about to blow Hugo's brains out. There's a loud bang and then Monti drops to the floor...dead. As sirens sound in the distance, Hugo clumsily grabs Monti's gun to protect himself. But Charlie tells him, "I already killed you once" (and he has his mother's figurine to prove it), turns away and fades into the darkness. Hugo rushes over to help Jennifer walk the injured Olive outside — where they're greeted by an army of police cars and fire-trucks. Hugo is prepared to be taken into custody, but the fans rush over and tell him he's been cleared of murder because other eye-witnesses had come forward saying they saw the hit-man entering the comedy club and others heard gunshots after they saw Hugo leave. Then, as Hugo and Jennifer embrace another car suddenly pulls up and out jumps Doctor Pitts, who's been trying to get a hold of the elusive Hugo to tell him there was a mix-up at the lab and, actually . . . Hugo never had rabies.


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