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Jacob is a likeably sleazy writer of pulp fiction. He models the female character (The Blonde) in his novel on his ideal woman. She is beautiful, sexy, sophisticated and streetwise - in the style of Lauren Bacall.
Jacob's girlfriend, Franny, designs his male character (Bron) - he's everything she wants in a man. Rugged, masculine, irresistible - in the style of Humphrey Bogart.
Via a freak accident, the two characters come to life - Bron and The Blonde step out of fantasyland into mundane reality.
And wreck Jacob's and Franny's lives.
What chance has a real warts-and-all relationship against the attractions of the perfect mate?
The Blonde is beautiful, sexy, sophisticated and streetwise, in the style of Lauren Bacall. She hires Bron, the hard-boiled, soft-centred, irresistible private eye, to rescue her from the clutches of her fiancé, evil Louie Marighetti, and his murderous henchmen.
Of course, this is all within the pages of Jacob Bronkowski's sixth crime novel. Lonely, randy, drowning in his trusty bottle of scotch, Jacob struggles on, all the while trying to forget his true love, police sergeant Franny Carter. If only Franny were more exciting, if only she would let her hair down.
But when a freak accident brings Bron and The Blonde to life, all this is changed. With The Blonde around, it's easy to forget Franny - if only The Blonde would forget Bron.
Jacob discovers that he can control his characters through his writing. He "writes" Bron off to fetch a pizza and sets about redesigning the irresistible Blonde into a woman who experiences "floodtides of passion" over himself.
During this process, Franny arrives, determined (and dressed) to let her hair down and rekindle the fire between her and Jacob. Ordinarily, Jacob would welcome her with open arms but tonight … The Blonde calls out from Jacob's bedroom. Franny socks Jacob and storms out, straight into the arms of the also furious pizza-bearing Bron - the man Franny designed as her dream lover when helping Jacob write his novel. She is as dazzled by Bron as Jacob is by The Blonde.
Things look set for a happy ending - Jacob and Franny are both with their ideal mates - but although Jacob leaps into bed with The Blonde, he cannot "perform." Because, as he realises, the woman he really wants is Franny. Franny is too furious to have any such problem with Bron. She wastes no time, handcuffs him to her bed and shows him a "real woman."
But when Jacob writes Bron out of Franny's bed while they’re making love – Bron literally vanishes at Franny’s crucial moment - the gloves are off. Franny arrests Jacob, Bron shoots his computer and Louie arrives in pursuit of his bride-to-be, The Blonde. Jacob's ingenious description of the wedding he has planned for them - conducted by no less than the Pope - brings on Louie’s asthma. This enables the four to escape into a crazy night in which the tenaciously pursuing Louie forces the four to discover who and what they really want in life.
In the slowest car chase ever, Jacob's power over Bron saves them when he writes Bron into a fearless racing driver. Thinking themselves at least temporarily safe from Louie, the four take time out for a drink at Bluey’s Hotel. With a dollar between them, a mounting drinks bill and a violently unsympathetic management, they're soon in trouble again. It takes another redesign of Bron, and The Blonde’s seduction of an ancient slot machine (even inanimate objects respond to this gal) and its ejaculation of a flood of coins to get them out of trouble.
Then Louie catches up - in sequence reminiscent of The Third Man, Louie pursues the four through a maze of underground tunnels and drains. Bron is useless. Jacob has remodeled him once too often – he is now a sensitive new age guy, non-violent and desperate to marry Franny. Jacob is forced to deal with Louie himself. How? Using his pen and “murder by malnutrition” - not the most reliable weapon.
Believing Louie dead, they emerge exhausted into the docklands. Jacob’s last ditch attempt to prevent Franny from marrying Bron is thwarted when Bron proves himself the better man in a writing contest - his prose is better than his creator’s. Franny accepts his proposal. The bottom has fallen out of Jacob's world.
But it’s not over yet. Louie returns yet again - he's a hard man to kill - and forces Jacob to write him back to health and give him the strength of ten men. Then he turns his gun on Jacob and Franny. However, Jacob has managed to simultaneously give The Blonde "the strength of ten men" - she rescues the others and escapes with them to the top deck of a cargo ship.
Cornered, they prepare for the final show-down with Louie. In the ensuing battle, Louie ruthlessly guns down The Blonde before Jacob stabs him with a pencil – how else should a writer destroy his evil creation? – and sends him over the side to his death at last.
The Blonde’s death and the realisation that Franny really loves Jacob are too much for Bron. He has had enough of reality. Jacob obeys his demand and sends him back to the book.
Finally alone, Franny and Jacob realise that despite their imperfections they were made for each other. The camera leaves them reconciled over a bottle of champagne, with a rosy if unpredictable future ahead.