The Christmas Con by Madeline Hombert | Script Revolution

The Christmas Con

A convict sneaks out of prison to spend Christmas with his family. He finds it much harder sneaking back inside.



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1993: Angelo begrudgingly lets Young Bobby stay at his apartment. Young Bobby (17) sneaks his two pals in the next day. A few days later, Bobby finds Connie crying in the dark and brings her home. Angelo finds he is outnumbered, and he and Bobby agree on house rules. Bobby and Connie work in restaurant and Mario and Frankie go to school. Everyone promises to always help those less fortunate.
1995: Connie and Bobby get married at the restaurant at Christmas and two years later their daughter Stephanie is born. Her birth is celebrated at the annual Christmas dinner for the homeless.
2022: Bobby has become Big Bobby and owns three steakhouses. Angelo has retired to Italy. A sketchy rival sets Bobby up by giving his name at a drug bust. Bobby has been to prison at least twice before so this could mean serious time. He agrees to turn state evidence in return for just thirty days in a cell and arrives November 23rd. During the four weeks, a hitman tries to stab him but Big Bobby is quicker. He saves himself but tells the con that he will need to get beaten up in the courtyard the next day. And he promises to take care of the guy’s family.
Big Bobby has to be home for Christmas as Stephanie and her husband will be there and he concocts a scheme to temporarily escape, switching places with a Guy who could use some extra money. Big Bobby has been working in the kitchen so it is an easy task to pour laxative into the day’s chili and then get out in a food delivery trolley.
He is barely safe at home when a snitch informs on him so he must work with his daughter, her husband, his friend Mario and the Doorman to get lost in a group of similarly attired Santas and then disappear into the crowd, thereby evading the detectives.
There is a wild ride back to the prison, changing clothes, switching vehicles and arriving after hours in a frozen turkey truck. While his paid Gard distracts the kitchen worker, Big Bobby slips back into his cell and the other guy gets into the truck. It’s like he never left.
The next day, the judge (his old room-mate and pal)commutes his sentence and the warden says he can leave but Big Bobby stays to serve the inmates their Christmas lunch and visit the hitman in the infirmary – because, you know, it’s Christmas.

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TITLE: The Christmas Con GENRE: Action Comedy WRITER: Madeline Hombert

The Christmas Con is a great crime comedy, in the vein of The Sopranos and Get Shorty. It tells the story of Big Bobby, a highly successful big city restaurant owner, who's also a crime boss struggling to keep his family and business together. The story begins in the 90's and then it jumps forward when it comes to showing the grown-up boss, just like Martin Scorsese did in GoodFellas.

The first twenty pages of this intense read are fairly calibrated as early as the powerful opening image in which a young Bobby is standing beside a flashy 1987 model Cougar. A good way to establish the origins of our protagonist's interests and goals. In this regard, the script manages to capture the most dense and meaningful moments that mark our protagonist's upbringing up until he is able to hold a gun.

What follows is centered around the protagonist's friendship with Angelo, his Pygmalion, and his relationship with a bunch of struggling kids who are in need for a place to stay. In this context, the sense of uncertainty and fear of the hero is palpable, and his awareness about the class differences between him and other people shows his intellectual maturity.

Nonetheless, the relationship between him and Angelo feels slightly rushed. The moment we see the latter coming across young Bobby as he sleeps in his restaurant and then opening his house to all his friends is a little bit fast. The kids, of course, take advantage of it, and that's probably where the script get a grasp of its own consistency and truthfulness. However, it would be better to set-up Angelo and Bobby separately, and then bring them together in order to see their differences and what they should endure to find a deal.

Based on the first twenty pages, the script demonstrated a great command of the screenwriting form and the ability of the writer to build a set-up. The script is in fact structurally strong at first and shows a protagonist that has nothing to lose. This is already a good origin point to shape his own path towards some sort of great opportunity that will be handed to him.

With that being said, this script presents good dialogues, and the ability of the writer in making the scenes unurgent is undeniable. As early as on page 18 we read, "Please God don't let him kick us out. Not a day before my final exam," and these kinds of scenarios are what's needed to keep the rhythm frantic. It is evident that who writes is in love with their own story and character, and keep them in motion all the way to the end.

From ISA-first 20
Overall, the first twenty pages of this script are clearly presented, well-structured, and engaging. Nonetheless, a little bit more power dynamics could really punch up a nearly flawless first act. What is Angelo capable of if the kids do not respect his rules? Also, what we really want to see more in here is a defining moment that's meant to establish the protagonist's friendship with each and every one of these supporting characters.

Submitted: March 14, 2023
Last Updated: March 20, 2023

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Madeline Hombert's picture

The Writer: Madeline Hombert

Madeline is a Canadian writer/producer/director. Credits include cowriting and producing two full length feature films distributed worldwide, and writing a short film (CATAMORPHIS) that she also directed. Her short screenplay, KATIES LAST DANCE, has placed first in festivals and her screenplays written with Michael Markus (BOARDGAMES, MADE OF HONOUR) have also been festival winners. THE CHRISTMAS CON was a table read at Peachtree Festival, Atlanta. Both writers are also published authors. Madeline studied screenwriting with Robert McKee at Ryerson College, Toronto; directing at seminars helmed by Peter Deluise and others in Vancouver. She is a member of... Go to bio
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