How to Improve ‘The Great Gatsby’? Turn It Into a Rom-Com!

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The Great Gatsby is already one of the great bromances of the twentieth century.

And yet, reviews haven’t been stellar for the newly-minted Baz Luhrmann version of the Fitzgerald classic. Too flashy, they say. Not true to the book, they wail. To make matters worse, the little novella-turned-Leo-DiCaprio-vehicle-that-could has been pitted against the powerhouse of ‘Ironman 3’ in theaters. The sad truth is that robots will always win.

But maybe the problem is that this version of Gatsby simply isn’t delivering what the modern American audience wants—a romantic comedy.

The structural bones are already there. It wouldn’t take much to tweak Gatsby to be the Bridget Jones of the East End. A few simple plot-fixes, and Gatsby will cause hilarity to ensue and women to weep (for joy, that is).

1. More Jordan Baker! Fitzgerald has been kind enough to supply Daisy with a ready-made plucky sidekick in the androgynous golf pro Jordan Baker. Like any good rom-com best girlfriend Jordan is unlucky in love but she will bend over backwards to make sure that her prettier and more popular best friend Daisy gets her man. Jordan is perfectly tomboyish just like Watts in “Some Kind of Wonderful” to Daisy’s Amanda Jones and says funny things like “this is much too polite for me.”

In our reinvisioning, Jordan will be the one to toss Nick Carraway to the side in a hilarious misunderstanding involving a three-way phone call and a romantic yacht ride.

She will also be given a litany of smart-ass single girl wisecracks like: “He asks if you want a drink. You smile and say, ‘Vodka soda.’ If you already have a drink, you down it. Then there’s some flirting, some interoffice sex, an accidental pregnancy, a shot gun wedding, and a life of bliss. How many times do we have to go over this?”

She will also be played by Judy Greer.

2. Nick Carraway would get the girl. Why? Because he is the unassuming underdog who just deserves his shot at love after living in Gatsby’s shadow (literally in the shadow of his giant house). Sure, Daisy teases Nick throughout the book (and it’s heavily implied that he’s gay), but at the end of the movie, she could realize that her happy ending was right under her nose all along — and he could realize that he did indeed swing her way.

3. Cast Katherine Heigl. Enough said.

4. Daisy and Gatsby meet-cute. We all know that Jay Gatsby and Daisy Fay met in Louisville in 1917. Gatsby was instantly smitten with her beauty, wealth and innocence. He knew she would spurn him if she found out he was from the wrong side of the tracks so he decided to reinvent himself as a wealthy drifter. Before he left for the war, he made Daisy promise to wait for him for two years.

No no no. The rom-com would be far better served if Gatsby were shopping while on leave in the deep South. He goes to the local Woolworths to buy a pair of men’s pajamas to keep him warm while he’s out fighting the Germans. He grabs the last pair that he sees, but realizes that he only has the bottoms. When he turns around, a doe-eyed young debutante is walking off with just the top. They fall in love as they bicker over who gets the whole PJ set.

5. Something romantic will happen in the rain. All romantic things happen in the rain. While it is indeed raining on the first day that Daisy and Gatsby finally reunite, that meeting would occur outdoors instead of in Nick’s house. Everything is more romantic when you’re wet.

6. The ending would be…much cheerier. We just can’t have Myrtle Wilson getting hit with that coupe or Gatsby gunned down in the pool. Everyone has to end up with someone. Endings are happy! Nick should get Daisy. Gatsby should be with Jordan (those two just get each other). Myrtle will reconcile with George, and Tom will run off with that elevator boy that Nick had a drunken moment with in Manhattan.

Jo Piazza (@jopiazza) is the author of the upcoming novel, Love Rehab: A Novel in Twelve Steps.