Directed by Peter Bogdanovich. Starring Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson, Rhys Ifans, Kathryn Hahn, Jennifer Aniston, Will Forte.
THE PLOT: In an interview with a critic, breakout actress Isabella (Imogen Poots) reflects on her career so far, and tells the story of how she got her big break through a married Broadway director who hired her when she was a call girl.
THE VERDICT: SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY is the first film from director Peter Bogdanovich in 12 years, but the problem is that it never quite lives up to its promise and becomes tiresome very quickly. Also… Funny what way!?
Imogen Poots does her best as the call girl turned actress who finds herself in the middle of a divorce, messy therapy and being pursued by a private detective. Poots is just about charming enough to carry all of this confusion, but her accent is almost painfully chewy and over the top. Jennifer Aniston does a good job of playing a selfish therapist; Kathryn Hahn is perhaps the most endearing of the cast as Delta, the wife being cheated upon. Owen Wilson plays a familiar role as Arnold, and never seem to do anything he hasn’t tried before, Rhys Ifans obviously has fun playing a lovelorn troublemaker and Will Forte fades into the background as playwright Joshua. The rest of the cast includes Debi Mazar and Jennifer Esposito.
Peter Bogdanovich and Louise Stratten’s screenplay obviously tries to borrow from and pay homage to the screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s, but never manages to get the tone right. Instead, confusion and crossed paths reign until everyone has had their say, all paths have been tangled, crossed and recrossed just to make sure that everyone has had their moment of chaos on screen.
As director, Peter Bogdanovich feels as though he is either imitating himself or Woody Allen, as he allows this ensemble cast to take over the entire film. The characters are defined enough on the surface, but are never given a chance to be anything other than superficial and, for the most part, angry.
In all, SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY tries to be a screwball comedy of coincidence and crossed paths but fundamentally fails in one all important area; the comedy. SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY is just not funny and, as the manic chaos gets more and more drawn out, becomes tiresome and repetitive.
Review by Brogen Hayes

She's Funny That Way
Review by Brogen Hayes
1.0Tiresome and repetitive
  • filmbuff2011

    Former film critic turned director turned literate film writer Peter Bogdanovich hasn’t made a film since 2001’s The Cat’s Meow. That rustiness shows in his new film She’s Funny That Way, a tribute of sorts to the screwball comedies that Hollywood did so well during its Golden Age, like Bringing Up Baby, as well as Bogdanovich’s own 1970’s contribution What’s Up Doc? Izzy (Imogen Poots) is a perky, sunny and uncynical call girl dreaming of stardom on the Broadway stage. She recounts a crazy few weeks in her life to journalist Judy (Illeana Douglas). First she spends the night with Arnold (Owen Wilson), unaware that he’s actually the director of the play she’s reading for. Things get awkward when she goes for the audition in front of Arnold and his wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn), bringing her own real-life experiences to the part, which is of course a call girl. Playwright Joshua (Will Forte) is smitten though and is convinced she’s perfect for the role. He tries to romance her, but his psychologist girlfriend Jane (Jennifer Aniston) has other ideas. Everyone gets tangled up in Izzy’s life, so it will take a lot of talking and convincing to untangle this mess… The screwball comedy can be a lot of fun, but it feels like a clumsy fit for a modern setting. It worked brilliantly in What’s Up Doc?, so why doesn’t it work here? Bogdanovich seems to have lost his way, or at least lost sight of what’s meant to be funny. He doesn’t so much tickle the funnybone here as barely touch it. A lot of scenes are built around contrivances, which are too unlikely to be credible. In a city of eight million people, almost all the characters show up for dinner at the same restaurant at the same time, unaware of the startling coincidence occurring. The cast at least seemed to have a lot of fun with their characters. Poots, as always, is delightful, though she almost murders that Noo Yawk accent. Wilson looks adorably perplexed as always and Aniston channels some of that Horrible Bosses vibe for another against-type bitchy character. The cast keep the story afloat, though only just. Any more silliness and it would have sunk under the weight of its own ambitions. She’s Funny That Way doesn’t really work as a modern screwball comedy, but it is at least light and daffy. The main conclusion to draw from it is that Bogdanovich needs to direct more often and pay more attention to his own scripts. **