“Screenplay” skewers the brutal Hollywood screenwriting process, but script by Daniel Suarez and helmer Adam Winston sometimes feels like a play recorded on film. Onscreen copyright of 1996 indicates pic has been on the shelf as long as some screenplays, though it isn’t for lack of entertainment value. Packed with jabs and jokes sure to tickle biz-savvy auds, this dark comedy’s best bet is with smart cablers.
Long rejected by agents and producers, starving scribe Martin (Sean Gavigan) desperately turns tables on particularly loathsome ten-percenter Bobby (David Coburn), holding him at gunpoint, demanding that he sell Martin’s latest script to any studio. Catch is that Martin’s opus is 120 pages of blank paper for which Bobby must instantly deliver a phone pitch. Though suffering from far-fetched third-act twists which themselves need a rewrite, the basically two-character comedy, set in one primary location, is never claustrophobic due to Winston’s roaming camera and good eye, and is blessed with strong leads and dead-on casting in over-the-phone voice roles. Pic could become underground fave among scribes, and solid tech credits make this a showcase for what low-budget helmers can do in close quarters.