Film: American Dreamer

Can speak five languages, but can't hold her liquor.

"Dimitri," said Rebecca, "you know I always get my man, even when he's a woman."

I will not be outwitted by a two-dimensional character in a cheap romantic thriller!

Rebecca Ryan, a Lady James Bond Expy (although she seems to be more of a private detective than a secret agent), is the main character in a popular series of novels by Margaret McMann. Her son, Alan, has been living the life of a playboy, until one day a woman shows up claiming to be Rebecca, and causing all sorts of trouble.

It turns out she is actually Cathy Palmer, a Housewife stuck in an unhappy marriage. Her best escape has been these novels, and after winning a trip to Paris, she suffers a concussion, and is now living as her favorite character.

Of course she doesn't have any of Rebecca's skills, and sees danger when there isn't any, and Alan is helplessly caught in her wake.

But perhaps there is some danger.

This light comedy doesn't have the madcap situations this setup implies, but it does have a good degree of Deconstruction of the kind of character Rebecca is.

This film provides examples of:

  • American Title
  • Ascended Fanboy - Fangirl in this case.
  • Asshole Victim - Victor Marchand suffers a lot in this movie (poisoning, multiple broken bones) after meeting Rebecca. However, he's the leader of a drug ring and a murderer, and at least some of his injuries were his backfired attempts to kill Rebecca.
  • Big Bad - Count Reneleau in the books, who Cathy unconsciously imagines as her husband, Kevin. Victor Marchand is the villain in the actual movie.
  • Bond One-Liner - The page quote. Would be a great parody if straight versions weren't just as cheesy.
  • Butt Monkey - Alan "Dmitri" McMann for most of the movie. Caught up in Rebecca's whirlwind, and in a perpetual state of "what the hell?"
  • Chekhov's Gun - Several different ones, either suberted or double subverted.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture - Hanging upside down can apparently be very painful if done for too long.
  • Curtain Camouflage - Subverted. It was just shoes Alan had left there.
  • Creator Backlash - In-Universe. The writer of the Rebecca Ryan books thinks they are "cheap pulp".
  • Deadpan Snarker - Alan is this, until some people try to shoot him and "Rebecca". Then he starts to ham it up in his frustration.
  • Deconstructive Parody
  • Easy Amnesia - How Cathy becomes Rebecca.
  • Escapist Character - This is how Rebecca us this In-Universe to Cathy, and the plot could be summed up as her literally escaping into this character.
  • The '80s
  • Follow That Car - and Alan actually says "I can't believe I said that."
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl - A lot of the movie is actually kind of like this.
  • Meaningful Echo - at one point Rebecca overhears a couple arguing very much like Cathy and Kevin did.
    Rebecca: It's not the cathedral, Harold. It's the last 15 years.
  • Noodle Incident - while writing their escapades into the next Rebecca Ryan novel, Cathy and Alan have this exchange:
    Cathy: So what happened next?
    Alan: You know what happened next!
    Cathy: Yes, but we can't tell them that!
  • Not What It Looks Like - Alan carrying a very drunk Rebecca, bridal-style, into his apartment, where his girlfriend Jacqueline is waiting. It's a very short break-up.
  • Only Sane Man - Alan McMann, though that starts to break down.
  • Pretty in Mink - Several, including the furs Cathy buys when she's Rebecca.
  • Shopping Montage - An amusing misunderstanding allows Cathy to pay for all the clothes.
  • The Unfair Sex - Yes and no. Cathy does sleep with Alan, but as Rebecca, and she still thinks he's Dimitri, her sidekick. Plus lovemaking isn't Cathy and Kevin's problem. It's just that he's a condescending, controlling jerk.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension - Although Dimitri is gay, Cathy thinks this is going on between him and Rebecca.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle - An apparent ending really isn't.
  • You Have to Believe Me - Alan tries his best to explain to the police chief that "Rebecca" is insane, yet someone is trying to murder her. It goes badly.