SYNOPSIS NOV 2016 – HIS&HERS
Of course the colourful, creative, environmentally aware laboratory analyst Emma (26) should not have opened those cages and let those rabbits run free. And she definitely should have known better than to keep a flame burning in the lab while doing so. In the big fat lawsuit that her former employer, the German Institute for Water Pollution Research, and those animal-abusing bastards from CosmiLab Inc. one floor up file against Emma, the verdict is clear: either she pays an enormous fine for the damage from the explosion and the rabbits nibbling their ways through the building’s wiring, or she goes to German prison for 5 months.
In shock, Emma returns home to the family farm in Nigtevecht, Holland, to ask her parents for help. But on arrival, she finds out that Mom has coloured her hair a painful shade of aubergine and is leaving Dad to lead a more exciting life with her new boyfriend. And now Emma has to put another burden on her father: to lend her the money to pay for the fine. And he does. After all, it was his daughter’s love for animals he raised her with, that lead to her impulsive action. And he loves her dearly; surely he cannot let her go to prison. He wires the money and Emma promises to immediately find a job to pay him back; Dad still has a mortgage on the farm, while making money farming is almost impossible these days.
Because Emma needs a job yesterday, she calls Lynn (41), her 15 year older friend-for-life who lives in Amsterdam. She is more than happy to put Emma up for a few weeks and to use her extensive network to get Emma job interviews in laboratories or eco-friendly companies. She is well connected, since she and her husband Michael are the owners of His&Hers, the super trendy, ecological dry cleaners, composed of a ‘His’-side and a ‘Hers’-side, where tout hip Amsterdam drops off its dirty laundry and hangs out for some fresh juice and a chat. It is a concept Lynn and Michael lounged back in London, where they used to live, and turned into a total success story after moving to Amsterdam. Now they are about to celebrate their 10-year anniversary party. Until Emma finds another job, she can work there.
And so it happens that Emma moves in with Lynn and Michael and starts working in His&Hers, next to Lynn and, on the His-side, the lanky, red-haired Max (53), who looks like a Viking but acts like a drama queen. He is Michael’s best friend and introduces Emma in the art of cleaning dry. The atmosphere is nice, with the women on the Hers-side and the men amongst each other at His. And in response to the application letters she sent out, Emma is invited for her first interview in an Amsterdam based laboratory. And it is about time: Dad is waiting for his money and Emma does need her own place to live.
All seems well, until Luke (28) – blond, rough, cocky and playful – enters Emma’s life. Luke is a musician, with a nasty cleaning job on the side to support his music career. One morning, just before Emma has to leave for that first job interview, he bursts into Hers, stinking like a sewer. He starts stripping off his overalls right in the middle of Hers, demanding Emma to clean them. Emma wants him out, but of course Max responds differently to this half naked hunk and forces Emma to wash his stinking clothes. Luke also talks to Michael about the note in the window for a new handyman. And to Emma’s horror, Michael hires this cheeky and totally self-absorbed jerk on the spot to be the new His&Hers handyman.
From then on, Luke seems to exist for the sole purpose to make Emma’s life miserable. He knows exactly how to push her buttons, makes clever remarks, drinks her coffee and annoys the hell out of her with his constant singing. Michael however thinks he is the bomb and relies on him for everything, even their private weekend shopping – so Emma finds out when she comes into the kitchen one morning, wearing nothing but an old T-shirt and scarily unflattering underpants for Luke to witness. Now they have both seen each other in their underwear, the score is even, he jokes. Emma is not amused.
And at the job interview, that day Luke gets hired, Emma finds out that the interviewers heard about the explosion she caused at her former employer. They sent her off without even considering hiring her. And so it goes with the next one. And the next. Emma starts to fear the worst. And when visiting her father, she finds out that, with both his savings and Mom gone, he is struggling to pay for the mortgage. Emma lies to him that she found a well paying job and promises to give him a substantial amount of money before the next mortgage payment is due.
Upon her return, she finds Lynn completely stressed out: the event company she hired to organise the His&Hers 10th anniversary has not started any arrangements yet, while the party is in two weeks. When Lynn shows her the astronomic amount of money they charge, Emma immediately grabs her chance: she asks Lynn to cancel the event company and give her the job. That way she could pay back her father half the fine already in two weeks! Lynn agrees.
Emma is over the moon. She starts making arrangements for the anniversary party; it shall be big and fabulous, with ecological foods and drinks, beautiful decoration and a charity lottery. It should be the celebration of the life and love of Lynn and Michael, the couple that Emma holds so dear. But that romantic image already crashes the following day, when Lynn reveals a big secret to Emma: she has been chatting with a mysterious and romantic man she met on NoMeatMeet, the new photo-less dating app she has been browsing on. Emma is in shock: Why on earth would she be on a dating app?! Does Lynn not realise how great her life is? And what a wonderful, one-of-a-kind man she has in Michael?
But Lynn is totally swept away by this mysterious ‘Dark Rider’ and announces to have set a blind date with him. She considers him the best thing that happened to her in a long time. Emma however considers it a major threat to not only Lynn’s marriage, but therefore also to His&Hers and its 10th anniversary, which is suppose to safe the family farm. So Emma decides to ‘help’ her best friend, by preventing her from destroying her life. Emma floods the His&Hers chemical cleaning machine room and leaves Lynn tied up with water spraying from a broken pipe, while Emma is off to take her place as ‘Snow White’ on the date with Dark Rider – and put a stop to this flirt once and for all.
Michael however is also underway. Why did he use the same phrase as Dark Rider in his chat last week? Was that coincidence? Or could Michael himself be the one Lynn has been chatting with? Have they been flirting with each other all along without knowing it? That would explain the click between the two anonymous flirters and the instant deep connection Lynn immediately felt. But no: when Emma shows up at the date location, she does not encounter Michael, but… Luke! She cannot believe that he is Lynn’s romantic NoMeatMeet mystery man. Now Emma is even more upset with him than before; not only is he an annoying jerk, he is also a marriage-ruiner!
When Emma returns, Lynn is very angry with her for jeopardising her business. Butting in on her dating she can handle, and maybe Emma was right about that, but His&Hers is her life’s work! But Emma assures her she should be thankful; this Dark Rider is a horrible person, a self centred bastard who thinks he is the catch of the century, but cares about nobody but himself. If Lynn has any sense in her, she will never chat with him again. Focus should now be on the anniversary, and spicing up her relationship with Michael in stead of chatting with another man.
Between the shirts and the skirts and the draining of the pipes, Luke tries to get to talk to Emma. She however wants nothing to do with him, she does not even want to be in the same room with him. As far as she is concerned, it is war between them. She takes revenge with childish little actions, bringing their relationship to an even worse state than it already was. One evening, when she is cleaning His&Hers by herself, Luke ambushes her and forces her to listen: he does not want her to think he is a ‘marriage-ruiner’. He needs her to know that although he may behave badly sometimes, he is not a bad person. He reveals to Emma that he is not Dark Rider. He had been send as a last minute stand-in… for Michael. So Michael is indeed Dark Rider and after seeing his wife look so beautiful and happy that morning, reminding him of the time what they were dating, he decided to back out of the blind date and send Luke to replace him.
When they realise that Michael and Lynn have, anonymously, found each other on the NoMeatMeet dating app, Luke is convinced that it only shows how perfect they are for each other. He believes that it would be best for them to find out; that would surely save their apparently deteriorated relationship. Emma is in doubt about whether that is a good idea, but Luke manages to convince her. Emma agrees, but Lynn and Michael’s reunion should be perfect. She does not want to leave anything to chance and decides to organise a date for them herself. It should be super romantic and situated in London, where their love sprouted and their life together started. Taken by the idea of such romance and utterly relieved that all will end well, Emma impulsively gives Luke a big hug… and there is the first spark between her and that stupid-but-nevertheless-charming Luke.
Lynn does not get it: after all the hard time Emma gave her about Dark Rider now suddenly she has changed her mind and encourages her to set another date? Well, she has news for Emma: she already did. Emma gets Lynn to reschedule in order to have it take place in London and goes out of her way to organise everything. Clearly Emma is not supposed to be at that date, but she cannot help herself: she just has to see it with her own eyes, even if that means cancelling the meeting she has at Vintage, the hottest venue in town, where she managed to make reservations for the anniversary party.
But what she sees, there in London, is not a romantic reunion of two lovers who have found each other anew, but a painful and ugly exposing of two cheaters, with Lynn crying and screaming and Michael shouting and storming off. Emma runs to comfort Lynn, but she is furious with her: what gives her the nerve to poke around in other people’s lives like that?! She and Michael broke up and Lynn considers that Emma’s fault. Emma however considers all this Luke’s fault; it was his stupid idea. But Lynn does not listen. She feels totally betrayed by Emma, who manipulated her and lied to her, not because she is her friend, but just to be able to take the pay check for the party. Emma protests: that is not what happened at all! But Lynn cannot be reasoned with. She sacks Emma from His&Hers and ‘kindly’ asks her to find her own place as soon as possible. And the party is off. Obviously!
Back in Holland, the atmosphere in Lynn and Michael’s house is more than depressing and Emma heads off to the family farm for a few days. There she finds her father destitute: he missed yet another payment and faces eviction from the farm. He fears that this will forever scupper his chances of his wife coming back. In desperation, Emma goes to the bank to try to take over the mortgage, but they cannot do anything if she does not have an income and a fixed contract.
Emma heads back to Amsterdam to beg Lynn for her job at His&Hers, but arriving at Michael en Lynn’s house, she enters what seems to be a war zone. They have now divided their home in a ‘his’ and a ‘hers’ side using pink and blue tape. Each on their own side they are deeply miserable, both depressed and heart broken. Emma is at the end of her wits: everything is going to hell! She rips off the tape and demands this nonsense to stop. Lynn and Michael are perfect for each other and they know it! They should just kiss and make up and give Emma her job back, so everything can go back to the way it was. But in stead of listening to her, Lyn tells Emma how it is: it is she who screwed it all up. Before they can get into another nasty argument, Michael takes a stand and in order to protect his wife, he tells Emma to pack her suitcase and leave.
And there she is, out on the streets. With nothing but her little suitcase. Not only does Emma not have a job and a place to sleep, she also has lost her dearest friends and her chance to save the farm.
Wandering around town, not knowing where else to turn, Emma ends up at His&Hers. There she finds Max, completely stressed out and overworked. With Lynn and Michael not looking after the business anymore, Max has to take care of everything and run both the His- and the Hers-side simultaneously. All is going sideways: bills are not being paid, laundry gets mixed up and unhappy clients are putting out negative Tweets.
Emma just cannot let this happen. Although she should focus on saving herself right now, seeing Max like that and His&Hers, Lynn and Michael’s life’s work, go to smithereens makes Emma decide to fix this mess. She may have been fired, but if nobody is running Hers, she will. If only to see Max smile again.
She hides her suitcase under the counter and does not tell Max about being fired. When Luke walks in Emma grabs him by the balls and demands him to help. Max is of no use at the moment and she needs Luke to run His. After all, he is the one who caused all this in the first place. Luke sees Emma’s despair and forgivingly takes on the task. But not after Emma first apologises for the nasty pranks she pulled on him. She swallows her pride and says sorry. The only thing she wants right now is to save her friends’ business, if it is the last thing she does.
Together they work hard, side by side, to get His&Hers back on track again. Emma and Luke turn out to actually work really well together and at the end of the day they are all hyped up from the great results they got and secretly very much enjoying each others company. He does still make fun of her, but in a playful manner – and she back at him. He even writes her a ridiculous song on the spot. The next morning, when Luke finds Emma in His&Hers, snoring and drawling on some blankets behind the counter, there are no bad jokes coming out of his mouth.
Although Lynn and Michael’s relationship is over, they do still love each other. After throwing Emma out it quiets down in their house and their hearts. They realise this cannot go on like this. Seeing all Max’s distressed messages and the negative Tweets about His&Hers going around, they know that they are on the verge of loosing their business too and that they need to get their heads straight. It now is ‘Lynn and Michael against the world’: if they want to keep His&Hers, nobody can notice that anything is wrong. His&Hers is the embodiment of their relationship, so on Facebook they make their life look perfect as ever. They have to keep up appearances and also the big 10th anniversary celebration must go on.
That is why Michael shows up at Hers. He heard what Emma did and comes to apologise for throwing her out and thank her for taking care of Hers. Emma is glad he came, but sad that Lynn still does not want to speak to her. Michael not only offers Emma back her job at Hers, but he also has a big favour to ask: he needs her to continue with the organisation of the anniversary. The show must go on and there is no one else to do it; Emma knows all the ins and outs and has made all the arrangements. Emma agrees, under one condition: she needs a contract, so she can take over her father’s mortgage.
Now things are looking up. Luke turns out to be a great help. He is an honest and actually quite caring guy. The final preparations for the party are in place, accept for one small detail that is missing: the venue! Because Emma cancelled her appointment at Vintage, she lost her reservation and it is impossible to book a new place on such short notice.
But Emma cannot worry about that now. Today is the dead line at the bank, so she travels to Nightevecht with her His&Hers contract. But her salary is not enough and the sour looking bank employee is not prepared to give Emma any more time. She returns to the farm defeated. Her father is already packing. Together they sit on some moving boxes in the big barn. Her father tells her about the old times, when his parents lived there and he and Emma’s mother got married right there in that barn. …And that is when Emma gets a million dollar idea: what better location to throw epic parties than that barn?
The bank loves the plan to convert the barn and make the farm profitable by organising parties there. And Emma already has a first booking to show for: the big His&Hers 10th anniversary party. With Max now back on his feet, managing His&Hers, Emma, Luke and Dad work really hard to get the barn party-ready in just a few days. And Dad immediately sees what Emma is oblivious about: Luke is into her. But Dad keeps to his own business of painting walls and designing his own vegetable juices to serve at the party.
At the evening of the party, Emma is nervous to see Lynn again. Dad reassures her it will all be fine, but Emma does not know how to cope; she has to be the host of the evening, while her best friend hates her. Then Dad gives Emma one of Moms dresses: a stunning red dress and the self confidence to go with it. After a pep talk Emma is ready to face her fears. But when Lynn walks in and their eyes meet, she immediately embraces her silly little girlfriend. Emma knows she has been forgiven and is overjoyed.
At the party, Lynn and Michael are the centre of attention. They help each other keeping up appearances and Emma is the sparkling host of the evening. Luke functions as a DJ and also sings Lynn and Michael a love song he wrote – secretly he sings it to Emma. Together, Lynn and Michael manage to get through the ridiculous farce without anybody noticing that their marriage has actually come to an end.
Half way through the night, while everybody is trying to talk to Emma about the great job she did on organising the party, Lynn and Michael are each holed up in their own hiding place – Lynn in the Van Vliet kitchen and Michael hidden beneath the coats hanging in the barn’s cloakroom. With their favourite music blaring from the barn and the photos documenting their love from the slide show at the party still imprinted on their retinas, they hesitantly check the NoMeatMeet app and start chatting to each other again. As Snow White and Dark Rider they are able to open up and honestly share their feelings – something they have not been able to do as Michael and Lynn for a long time now. While chatting, they slowly get back down to the essence of what it actually is that makes the other so special.
And against all odds, they arrange another date. But this time not as Snow White and Dark Rider, but as Lynn and Michael, right there, at the party. They look at each other from opposite sides of the bar. He buys her a drink, she shyly accepts. Then they dance together to their favourite nineties hits, almost like teenagers: a beginning of getting to know each other anew. All thanks to Snow White and Dark Rider.
When Emma sees Lynn and Michael having such an amazing time together on the dance floor, she impulsively runs to her dear friends to hug them. But they only have eye for each other and gently push Emma into a different direction, towards Luke. At first Emma does not know what to think, but after a few encouraging words from her best friend, a big wink from Max and a reassuring nod from Dad, Emma’s finally sees what has been right in front of her all that time: this fantastic, playful and loving guy named Luke. He takes her in his arms and they dance… and they kiss.
It is a wonderful party, with great music, lovely people and Daddy Van Vliet preparing delicious vegetable juices. And Mom, appearing silently in the doorway, her hair back to its normal shade of pepper-and-salt.
Lynn and Michael decide to take a break from their hectic life and go on a trip around the world together, to rekindle the spark in their relationship. Max will be running His&Hers and Emma is asked help him do so. But although she is very flattered, Emma has decided on a career switch, in a very different direction: she is starting her own event organising company, with Dad as her side kick and the barn as the perfect place to celebrate life.