Review: She’s Funny That Way
She’s Funny That Way is a romantic comedy from actor and director Peter Bogdanovich starring Imogen Poots (Jane Eyre), Owen Wilson (Midnight in Paris), Jennifer Aniston (We’re the Millers), Kathryn Hahn (Tomorrowland) and Rhys Ifans (Elementary).
The film is narrated by Hollywood starlet Izzy, as she explains to a journalist how she got her first big break, when she met theatre director called Arnold Albertson as a call girl. During their night together Arnold takes her out to dinner and gives her some money and encouragement to follow her dream of acting, which Izzy takes to heart – only for her to bump into him the next day when she auditions for a part in his new play.
Awkward enough as this is, it soon gets even more complicated when everyone in the cast wants to hire Izzy for the role – ironically that of a call girl – including the star of the play and Arnold’s own unsuspecting wife, Delta. Further chaos ensues as the production’s playwright, his father, his therapist girlfriend and a client obsessed with Izzy all become entangled in the affair in a series of crazy connects and coincidences.
This film feels like it has two good concepts for comedic movies in it – one about a call girl getting a role in a play as a call girl, and another about a guy who has a sort of saviour complex who gives money to call girls. However, I felt like neither of these ideas got explored as much as I’d personally have liked.
Instead the movie turned into a comedy of coincidences with several characters that I either didn’t know very well or didn’t care for much, running around in the background seemingly to create extra comedic relief that didn’t work particularly well or was really needed. Jennifer Aniston’s character for example is meant to be funny because she is a slightly crazy therapist, but I just found the character’s insensitive and self-centred attitude irritating. It was a little disappointing to watch because I’ve seen Jennifer Aniston play flawed but very likeable characters – like Rachel from Friends. But here the character was near impossible to sympathise with.
In my opinion the best character in the film was Izzy herself with her friendly, eager way of talking and innocent optimism, that occasionally fell silent at the journalist’s cynical questions, hinting that this romantic young woman was actually somewhat in denial of the uncomfortable truths of her story.
She’s Funny That Way is a rags to riches comedy that, despite some good ideas and a sparkling performance from Imogen Poots, seems to be trying a little to hard to be screwball – throwing in a few too many characters and ideas. The inclusion of a therapist, a creepy Judge that is obsessed with Izzy and the Private Eye he hires in my opinion did not add much to film – but rather distracted from the main plot. Whilst the call girl aspect of the film wouldn’t have hurt from having a few more sober moments, even though the film is a comedy. All in all, not a terrible film but certainly not as romantic as it thinks it is.
She’s Funny That Way is out now on DVD.