Log line: A brash American heiress travels to London to fulfill her lifelong dream of marrying an English nobleman. However, once she arrives she discovers that may be more difficult than she thought. She meets a fellow American ex-pat, dashing but broke, who agrees to teach her how to snare the man of her dreams, for a price. As he coaches her towards her goal she must reevaluate everything she thought she wanted. Maybe sometimes you only need to look as far as your own backyard to find true love.
Genres: Romantic Comedy
Influences: Notting Hill and Legally Blonde
Inspired by The Regal Rules for Girls by Jerramy Fine
Stephanie Kittridge, a boisterous, rich, American heiress, moves to London to study at Oxford, but is really looking to meet an eligible British bachelor (preferably one with a title), secure a proposal, and marry him. However, her loud American ways are not endearing, and she’s doing everything wrong.
Her first week in London she meets a young good-looking artist, Nick Anderson, who unfortunately turns out to be a fellow American. Dirt poor, world traveled, he lives out of a backpack, sleeping on his half-sister’s couch, and spends his money on art supplies. The estranged son of a foreign diplomat, he is surprisingly knowledgeable about British society.
Stephanie exudes American-ness and he tells her she’ll never catch an Englishman. She offers to pay him ₤300 a week to teach her how to charm an eligible bachelor in Oxford. He agrees.
They start small, working on her British social skills and basic etiquette. Stephanie seems hopeless. Ultimately, Nick begins taking her out on “dates” so he can correct her as she goes. Finally, she makes progress.
Nick decides she’s ready to pursue her bachelor of choice: Lord Hugh Brandon-Yarborough, an attractive and appropriately titled bachelor. Hugh asks Stephanie out for dinner and dancing, she accepts before she remembers she can’t dance.
She runs to Nick’s flat in the middle of the night and he teaches her to dance. Unwanted sparks fly, but they both dismiss it. The date with Hugh goes well, and soon he and Stephanie are a happy couple.
Stephanie’s life plan seems to be working out exactly like she hopped, but suddenly she isn’t as excited as she thought she’d be. As she gets to know Nick, she gets glimpses into his past, meeting his half-siblings when they visit him in Oxford, and even learning about his troubled relationship with his father.
Tensions between Nick and Stephanie rise. One night his half-sister calls him from a London hospital, and tells him their father has had a heart attack and wants to see Nick. Stephanie tells Nick to go see him, but he refuses. They fight.
Nick accuses Stephanie of being exactly like his father, believing money can solve any problem. He calls her shallow and self-absorbed. She has all this power at her fingertips and all she chooses to do with it is shop for a husband. She retorts, telling him that if he doesn’t go see his father he isn’t half the man she thought he was. She says his “live in the moment” attitude and the freedom he thinks it gives him are really just the excuses of a coward too afraid to make lasting human connections.
They retreat to their separate corners. Stephanie bursts into tears in the middle of a date with Hugh and Nick gets drunk at a bar. Finally he does go to London to see his father but he refuses to answer any of Stephanie’s calls.
Two weeks later, Hugh prepares to take Stephanie to the annual Brandon Christmas Ball, where it is widely rumored he’s going to propose. Stephanie invites her friends, including Nick’s half-siblings. She asks Nick to come, not because she’s paying him, but because he’s her friend, because she needs him. He refuses.
Hurt, Stephanie leaves him and goes to the ball. Nick packs his things and plans to leave England. He leaves a note for Stephanie in his flat along with a painting he’s been working on. Stephanie looks around the ball at all the well-groomed, well-mannered British nobility, and realizes that she’ll never fit in because she doesn’t love Hugh. She turns down his proposal and in most unladylike fashion, runs out of the ball to find Nick.
She discovers his flat is empty. When she uncovers the painting she sees it is a portrait of her, and, louder than words, it says he loves her. Moneyless, she begs a ride from a cab driver to the airport. She runs inside only to see Nick has already cleared security. She grabs the PA system and announces to the entire airport that she loves him and that she hopes he won’t get on a plane unless she’s on it too, going wherever he’s going.
He runs back to her and they kiss. Stephanie says she’ll give up all her money because it doesn’t buy love. Nick says he has a better idea, but first they have a world to explore.
As the credits roll, snapshots and home movies show all the places Nick and Stephanie visit together and that they use her fortune to open an art school for underprivileged kids. The last moment is a home movie of Stephanie’s birthday, their entire family together and happy.
To read an excerpt of How To Catch An Englishman please click here.