My friend, writer Stephanie Dolgoff, has been eradicating my SAD (Schmuck-in-the-White-House Affective Disorder) all week with manic Facebook musings about whether the sweet Michael Cohen she kissed at sleepaway camp in the Poconos in 1979 grew up to become the sour Cheeto’s chief counsel. Equipped with only her memories and a blurry black-and-white picture of a tween boy in a pukka-shell necklace, she and her camp friends did a ton of difficult forensic work, trying to figure out if that cute wee Mike developed a post-adolescent pugnacious chin and a penchant for only having three clients. Her anxiety and detective skills produced a truly hilarious story for Next Tribe, a new website for women aged 45-plus, which you must check out.
Steph’s mission was tough, because, as she noted, “You couldn’t swing a tetherball at Jewish camp in the late 1970s without hitting a Michael Cohen.” Indeed, they were as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand of the seashore. She mused: “That floppy brown hair. That entitled confidence. That slightly agape, indignant mouth. Was that the same mouth that had inexpertly met mine, all those years ago? And if it was, do I have retroactive cooties?”
Alas, Steph’s cootie situation remains unresolved (though signs do point to “yes”) but my brain immediately leapt to the idea of a female buddy comedy for the #metoo age, to be called Searching for Michael Cohen. Here it is. Producers, put me on speed dial. Steph, I’ll give you a piece of the action.
As we speak, 50ish (but STILL HOT) Jewish women all over the country are freaking out that the Michael Cohen they kissed in summer camp in 1987 (sorry, Steph, we gotta age this up a little to attract the lucrative teen market) is THAT Michael Cohen. No records exist because pre-internet. We open with a montage of women on computers (think Sandra Bullock in The Net) and telephones (think “The Telephone Hour” in Bye Bye Birdie, only cordless) jabbering away in panic. From a huge grid of lively, beautiful women, we focus on our five main characters who attended five different Jewish camps in the ’80s: STACI (Sandra Bullock), a frazzled single mom and former TV news producer; SHARI (Marisa Tomei), a mousy Hebrew School teacher unhappily married to SOLLY, a fatuous asshole rabbi (Colin Firth); SAMMI (Mira Sorvino), a hard-charging finance executive unhappily married to MANNY (Keanu Reeves), a mild-mannered glasses-wearing librarian; TERI (Melissa McCarthy), a happily promiscuous plus-size fashion designer: and TRACI (Gabrielle Union—not all Jews are white, jeez), a newly divorced, glamorous but sad actress. The women band together online and in person to research their five Michael Cohens.
Scooby Gang adventures! They break into now-shuttered Jewish sleepaway camps to look for old yearbooks; spy on the real Michael Cohen and keep falling into shrubbery; have drunken heart-to-hearts; accidentally eat a cheeseburger (Shari); someone vomits and/or has hilarious diarrhea; shenanigans occur. (Specifics TK. It’s Bridesmaids meets Girls Trip with more Elsa Peretti Star of David necklaces, OK?) There are flashbacks featuring five different tween youthful Michael Cohens with feathered hair in Jewish-ish camp scenes teeming with lanyards, t’filah in the woods, tetherball injuries, Tretorns, mean girls applying Bonne Bell rollerball lip gloss. (Bubbeleh, have your girl crunch the numbers on whether we can pipe the smell of Tatiana and Sun-In into the theater.) Recycle the “has anyone seen Mike Hunt?” scene from Porky’s. Who’ll know? All the Porky’s fans are dead.
Together, our heroines solve each other’s problems, all of which date from adolescent insecurity and incidents of camp cruelty. Bad Michael Cohens meet their long-delayed comeuppance; good Michael Cohens are rewarded with the love of a fine woman. Staci falls in love with her old camp boyfriend, Michael Cohen (Paul Rudd), an orthopedist and a Democrat. Shari dumps pompous Solly for a nice, truly spiritual Michael Cohen (Jon Hamm) and they conjugate Hebrew verbs sexily. Sammi realizes she’s still in love with Manny because he’s kind and amazing at helping her track Michael Cohens and she learns how important good research skills are in our age of obfuscation and Fake News. Terri sleeps with all the unattached Michael Cohens and one Michaela Cohen and is not slut-shamed. Traci has the hint of a flirtation with a geeky Michael Cohen (Mark Ruffalo) who doesn’t even know she’s famous now and just remembers her as the hot girl from Omanut where they made coil pots together erotically. She decides to run for office and everyone is into it.
Spoiler alert: No one dated THAT Michael Cohen.
Also: I don’t know how to write a script treatment. I Googled. I’m sorry.