She's Funny That Way
- Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Jennifer Aniston
- Peter Bogdanovich
One of the breeziest romps of the year, She’s Funny That Way marks the big-screen directorial comeback of the Hollywood historian-critic Peter Bogdanovich.
Blending his own comic sensibilities with a touch of Ernst Lubitsch, the old-school maestro whose final completed film Cluny Brown (1946) provides the inspiration for a running gag involving squirrels and nuts, this is Bogdanovich’s valentine to the classic screwball comedies of the 1930s and ’40s.
At the pivot of the plot, co-written by the director with his ex-wife Louise Stratten, are a philandering Broadway director (Wilson) and the ‘escort’ (Poots) who lands the lead role in his new play.
Book-ended by a couple of prime tunes by Irving Berlin the manic farce is staged with a chutzpah few contemporary comedies care to attempt.
A clue to the respect Peter Bogdanovich still commands among his peers can be gleaned from the end credits, which list both Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach as the film’s executive producers.
Also, check out the oddball cameo by Quentin Tarantino (yes, the same) towards the finale.
Watch the trailer here
The sexual trysts among the various characters spark utter confusion, but the fun the actors have with the material is quite infectious.
Recreated in loving detail, the New York settings are given the sort of sheen that belie a none-too-ginormous budget.
An eclectic array of supporting actors fully captures the foibles of the characters they portray. Kudos must go to Kathryn Kahn as the wronged wife who also happens to essay a crucial role in the play.
Adding to the merriment are Will Forte as the lovelorn playwright and Jennifer Aniston as a ditzy therapist.
Basking in the comedic tradition of the past, She’s Funny That Way may not be as substantial as those golden oldies, but it’s thoroughly entertaining just the same.