Review: She’s Funny That Way

The cast and crew of a Broadway play are thrown into a romantic mess when their director hires a call girl for the night and the next day she turns up to audition for his play alongside his wife. Written and directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Kathryn Haan, Jennifer Anniston, Rhys Ifans, Will Forte, Illeana Douglas, Debi Mazar, Cybill Shepherd, Richard Lewis, Austin Pendleton and Tovah Feldshuh. With quite the list of actors and a director that’s a true New Yorker it’s a promising combination.

A huge standout in the cast for this film is Jennifer Anniston, her performance as highly strung and high maintenance therapist Jane is quite possibly the funniest aspect of the film, her dialogue is utterly apathetic and selfish and a joy to watch. The whole cast really feels like their places are seamless, with the only exception possibly being Ifans whose character feels much less charming and more lecherous which isn’t quite as pleasant to watch. Wilson’s role is almost perfect, he’s played nice guys and he’s played douchebags and this is a hybrid of the two, he’s certainly not a good guy and yet there’s nothing inherently unlikeable about him, which is an impressive feat by the writing of Bogdanovich. Haan’s performance becomes better as time goes along, the reaction and consequences of the events give her plenty to act and it’s highly enjoyable. Then there’s English actress Imogen Poots playing our call girl from Brooklyn, the actress herself is not a wrong choice but adding the need for an accent and changes to her demeanour it begins to feel very staged and much less natural or casual which is slightly uncomfortable to watch but gradually as the character of Izzy develops that fades into the background.

The hugely unbelievable and ridiculously coincidental nature of this film could cause some people to be quite critical and point out the flaws in that but all you need to remember is, it’s a film that is based in no fact whatsoever and calling it unrealistic is simply taking it much too seriously when it’s a comedy, that goes against the entire point. The coincidences don’t feel entirely forced or unnatural, the transitions are relatively smooth and the story feels in no way fractured. The film has that genuine New York feeling to it, an almost indescribable quality that provides a certain charm or energy to the film which works extremely well given the Broadway setting. The never-ending connections between the characters, that may well seem illogical, are actually very entertaining and add a very slight but perceivable sense of suspense to the reveal of these connections and desperate attempts by some to cover them up.

She’s Funny That Way seems to have had a fairly minimal following and on release didn’t have all that positive of a reaction which may well have contributed to that but so long as you don’t attempt to take it too seriously, it’s a fun and silly, well written comedy. There are elements that almost feel akin to Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau at the same time as feeling like a Woody Allen film, it’s unusual without being too eclectic and it’s a great mix of actors that all have something to add within a film that finds itself in some hilarious situations.

Verdict: 7/10

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