Sunday, August 16, 2015

She's Funny That Way: Movie Review


A farce that pays tribute to a bygone age of movies.
She's Funny That Way is the story of a prostitute named Izzy who becomes an actress named Isabella and the theatre director who changed her life. The movie's a throwback to the screwball comedies of the 1940s where movies were seen as magical and and an escape from one's life. While this doesn't reach the same heights as a must-see comedy, it is clever and funny in its own way. 2014

Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich

Screenplay by: Peter Bogdanovich
Based on play by Louise Stratten

Starring: Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson

The beginning of the plot is just ripe for a comedy of errors to follow it. Izzy (Imogen Poots) is a prostitute who dreams of one day being a movie actress. Arnold Albertson (Owen Wilson) is a director from Los Angeles who's staying in New York to direct a Broadway play. He has a penchant for calling hookers, but for the greater good – give them money to help them change their lives. So Izzy is on her way to becoming an actress. But of course it won't be that easy. She has a client obsessed with her and a private eye hired by said client on her tail.
Images courtesy of VVS Films.
The deep and talented cast all get brought in eventually. Arnold's play is set to star Seth (Rhys Ifans) and his wife (Kathryn Hahn), and is written by Joshua (Will Forte) who's girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston) is Izzy's therapist. Poots has the main role but her extremely annoying New York accent (annoying on purpose as it's part of her character, but still, annoying none-the-less) hampers her ability to really draw the audience towards her as she has done in the past.

Owen Wilson starts the film off with a great tone, pace and humour. He's reminiscent of his character from Midnight in Paris (2011) and almost as funny. He becomes less funny as his character fails to evolve much. He's the instigator of, but neither the straight-man or beneficiary, to the shenanigans that occur. For the rest of the cast, Jennifer Aniston stands out the most. She's hilarious in every single one of her scenes, and the fact that she plays such an unlikable character just makes it all the better.

I really appreciated the parallels between the play Arnold's directing and the lives of everyone involved. It adds an element of cleverness to the film and elevates it a bit which is needed since it's not as funny as one would like it to be. There are funny ideas and funny scenes, but only a handful of lines that one would laugh-out-loud at.
In addition to the early screwball comedies, She's Funny That Way also borrows from Woody Allen. The intersecting lives is handled in a similar way as You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and the jazz score and New York setting really give it the same feel. It's like a movie that is meant for movie lovers but probably wouldn't turn anybody into a movie lover. The final scene with a delightful surprise cameo reinforces that idea.

Similar Titles:

Midnight in Paris


Accidental Love (AKA Nailed)