Synopsis of The Pursuit of Unhappiness
Written by Jennifer W.
Ally and Larry are walking down the street when they see Elaine getting out of a car with a man other than Mark. They stand behind a pole and watch as Elaine and this guy passionately kiss-and then Elaine pulls him into her house. Ally and Larry are shocked and what they just witnessed.
At the morning meeting, Richard goes over the new cases. John, not in a very good mood, is very snippy towards Nelle. Richard assigns Jackson the Gilbert Breen case. He is a longtime client who is getting married and wants to update his will. Richard suggests a prenup be drawn up for him. Ling has a case regarding a shipping company CEO who is being sued by his son on the grounds that he is too happy.
Ally asks Elaine if she could see her for a second in her office. In her office, Ally confronts Elaine about what she saw. Elaine says she met this guy when she was in a dating service a year ago and after one date, he had to leave town. When he came back, he bumped into Elaine on the street, they went to dinner, and then...she slipped. She admits she made love to him and she is ashamed she did it.
Jackson is with Gilbert and Julie, his fiancé. Jackson asks Ally to take Julie into her office and get some information from her. Meanwhile, Jackson takes Gilbert into his office and convinces him to have Julie sign a prenuptial agreement-for his protection. When Jackson presents the idea to Julie, she initially agrees until Ally suggests Larry be her council just to make sure her interests are being taken into consideration. Jackson is obviously irritated by Ally's suggestion. Larry agrees to take the case.
In court, Kenny, the CEO's son, is on the stand. He explains his father, once known for his toughness, is nice now-all the time. Henry was struck in the head by a piece of loading equipment that caused a structural lesion on his brain. The clot releases a chemical into his brain that basically makes him euphoric. Kenny says that his round the clock happiness is not helping the business, which has been steadily declining since his accident. "He no longer cares about getting the upper hand in a deal. He refuses to fire bad workers, he caves in to union demands, he spent a quarter of a million dollars for a company day care. Our company stock has been dropping. If this keeps up, we could all go bankrupt. "He has become incompetent," Kenny says. He testifies that his father could be cured if he would allow them to drain the clot. Ling cross-examines and gets Kenny to admit that his father is not really incompetent.
Elaine receives flowers from the guy who she had her little fling with. Mark walks in and comments on the flowers. Elaine tells him they are for Ally from Larry. Ally calls Elaine into her office-not very happy she had to lie.
Ling is questioning Henry on the witness stand and asks him if he is happy being happy all of the time. He says yes and tells her the business may be doing not so well now but eventually, because of his changes, the employees will be happier, which will make them more productive. "I was miserable before. I was a penny-pinching curmudgeon. If I wanted to go on feeling that way, maybe they should call me crazy," he says. He tells her how he takes care of his wife of thirty seven years, who has cancer. "Your business is failing, you've lost almost a million dollars, your own son is turning on you and your wife has cancer. But life is grand?" Ling asks. "Yes, it is," he says.
In the conference room, Larry and Jackson bicker over the prenup Jackson has drawn up. It seems like there is some other animosity going on too. Larry doesn't think the prenup gives Julie any benefits if the marriage were to end within five years. "Look, if she loves him as much as she claims to, then it's really a non-issue," Jackson says. "Yeah, unless he turns out not to love her," Larry counters.
Ally tells Elaine she is not happy with the position Elaine has put her in. Elaine feels terrible and offers to just tell Mark the truth. Ally stops her and says that if Elaine wants to try and make their relationship work, she cannot tell Mark the truth because he would not forgive her. Elaine wonders why Ally thinks it is okay for her to lie but Ally can't. "Well, in this situation, you have to," Ally says. "Then why can't you?" Elaine asks.
Henry's wife is on the stand. "I love him this way. Before, all he thought about was money and competition. Now he's loving and kind. My son wants him to step down because he was raised under the influence of the way Henry used to be. He's also worried about stocks and shareholders and profits. He should get a little dose of his father's sickness," she testifies.
Jackson comes to pick up Renée for their date. Ally and Larry are fixing dinner. (This next dialogue will be written in a different format since the banter goes back and forth throughout this scene. A=Ally, L=Larry, J=Jackson, and R=Renée.)
R: Hey, sweetie.
J: Hey. Ready? (He gives Renée a kiss on the cheek.)
R: Two seconds.
J: Mmm. (Commenting on how good Renée looks.) Hurry up, girl.
J: Oh, Ally. Larry.
A: Okay. What, what am I missing? (Noticing their hostility towards each other.)
L: Jackson's upset I didn't commit malpractice and advise Julie to sign a ludicrous prenup.
J: What's ludicrous is that marriage should be about love. Now, a prenup, that's about money.
L: Whose idea was the prenup, Jackson?
R: Okay. (She walks in and is ready to leave.)
A: You know, Jackson, you were a little dicey. (Renée gives her a look.)
J: Excuse me? Dicey?
A: Well, representing the...
J: You know what? I'm not in the mood for your issues.
A: My issues? What are my issues?
J: Look, lady...
J: You're kissing me...
A: I thought you were him.
J: Then you climb into bed... (Renée shakes her head in agreement.)
A: I thought you were her. (Larry is very confused.)
J: Your hands were all up on my privates...
A: Because I thought it was the remote control.
L: Hold on.
J: You found it.
A: Yeah, it did feel like the remote control...hard, plastic. Please, don't flatter yourself.
R: Excuse me?
L: You had your hand...
R: Hard plastic?
J: Men have it when they're sleeping.
J: No, erections. Come on. (He grabs Renée and leaves.)
A: (Starts humming.)
L: So, uh, you kissed him, got into bed with him, and grabbed his remote.
Ling tells Henry and his wife that they will probably lose the case and should try and settle. They finally agree. Henry asks his wife to go to dinner. She is happy they have a "date".
John walks into the bathroom where Gilbert in looking at the mirror. Sobbing, he tells John he is a big, fat fool for believing someone would want to marry him for him. He says Julie is only marrying him for his money. "I see that you're not especially attractive. Do have a wife?" he asks. John is taken aback. "When I was seven, my mother put me on a diet. And she said, "if you're fat, no girl will ever love you". I told her "you're wrong, Mom. I'll find her. There's a woman out there". And I vowed to myself I'll study hard, I'll become rich, successful and women will want me. So, what do I do? I become a millionaire. And they want me...but for my money," Gilbert says sadly. "Well, I'm sure that isn't true," John assures him.
Jackson, Larry, Gilbert and Julie are in the conference room going over the prenup. They all end up arguing over it. Meanwhile, Ling, Henry, Kenny, and his lawyer are trying to negotiate a settlement. While they are talking over particulars, Kenny's cell phone rings and the caller on the other end has bad news. His mother has died from acute heart failure. When he tells Henry, Henry does not show any sorry, he is still happy. "Oh, that's terrible," he says, with a smile on his face.
Henry and Richard are in the unisex. "Hey, pops, how's the big case going?" Richard asks. "I think I'm losing. And my wife died," Henry says, with a smile. Richard is confused. Henry realizes that he can't show the sorry, the way he knows he should. He decides to get the blood clot drained so he can properly grieve for his wife, and cry.
Mark confronts Ally about the Elaine situation. He doesn't believe that Ally was with Elaine the other night. Elaine walks in and tells Mark the truth. She apologizes to Mark for her infidelity and to Ally for asking her to lie. Mark walks out, speechless.
Ling goes to visit Henry in the hospital before his procedure. Ling seems a little worried but the doctor assures her Henry will be fine. She wonders if Henry should wait but he says the funeral is on Wednesday and he has to be able to cry by then.
Elaine walks into Mark's office and asks if she could speak to him for a minute. He nods his head yes. "Okay, first, I'm not here to excuse my infidelity, only to try to explain it. The reason I even bothered to have dinner with this man I suppose, came out of insecurity about you and me. We're hardly the most solid couple. For the most part, you still judge me. I suppose I'm a little nervous about putting all my eggs in such a leaky basket," she explains. "So you fertilized your eggs with someone else's seed?" he asks. "Once again, I'm not saying I had any excuse. But, in asking myself why, I realize that I don't have any confidence in you and I. We're biding time with each other, Mark. We both know it. You're a great guy. And what I did the other night was despicable. But we should just quit while we're behind," she sadly concludes.
Gilbert and Julie, are about to call off the whole wedding because all of the prenup. He thinks she won't marry him without signing the prenup and she thinks he won't marry her unless she signs one. John speaks up and tells them to not let their lawyers influence them. If they love each other, then "what God has joined together let no lawyer tear asunder". They see the light and apologize to each other.
After a successful operation, Henry is able to cry over his wife's death. Ling tries to console him but he would like to be alone. When Ling leaves, he pulls out a picture of his wife and hugs it while Lings looks on through the window.
At the bar, Renée and Jackson, Julie and Gilbert, and Ally and Larry dance. Elaine walks down the street alone, lost in her thoughts.
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