Peter Bogdanovich

Louise Stratten

Movie Review
She is funny that way:Funny, not hilarious


A review by S. Manasvi

Brooklyn starlet Izzy narrates her call girl-to-actress story in an interview and how a night with one of her clients gave her a magical lesson in chasing her dreams.

In theatre, a farce is a comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus improbable. If this film was a play, it would have fallen in this category.

The film “She’s funny that way” is a comedy film narrated by an actress Isabella Patterson (Imogen Poots), about her encounter with a seemingly benevolent theatre director Arnold (Owen Wilson) who donates huge sum to the callgirls and asks them to leave their profession. Glowstick aka Izzie becomes Isabella and ends up auditioning for Arnold’s play. What follows is a series of funny incidents that cover her journey into the film world. SPOILER ALERT. Ending has a surprise cameo by Tarantino.

She's Funny That Way originated from a script written by director Peter Bogdanovich and ex-wife Louise Stratten around 1999 and 2000. That they began filming it in 2013 and it got a release in 2015 is a different story. In United States, this film has what is called a limited release and is available through video in demand.

The film has a very old fashioned milieu and there is a lot of cross referencing to old cinema. The comedy is more verbal than physical. In such cases, there ought to be dialogue and jokes that you can share and laugh about. But unfortunately there aren’t many. Situations may bring smile to your face but I doubt if you would be laughing your guts out. The story uses too many coincidences and it makes you wonder if the world they are showing is made up of only those few people. Almost everybody knows everybody. All of a sudden, all the skeletons pop out from Arnold’s cupboard. Izzie’s therapist played wonderfully by Jennifer Anniston, lands up at their rehearsals for reasons known best to her and helps tie up the loose ends of the script.

The gags are minimal and the characters are almost spoofy. So they fail to touch you or form any emotional bond with you. But still the turn of events, which I said earlier, is in the tradition of farce and is perky enough to keep you to your seats. Jennifer Anniston as Jane the therapist and Austin Pendleton as the Judge Pendergast will stay with you even after you have left the hall.

You certainly expect a much better film from director Peter Bogdanovich but then that’s one of the downsides of being a formidable figure, good enough is never considered good. Someone who has given us What’s up Doc, Paper Moon, They all laughed, Mask, and so on, should have gone for a much tighter screenplay.

There is a scene in the film where Arnold’s wife calls up from ground floor lobby and then reaches his room on 13th floor in less than a minute and he exclaims - Jesus, that's the fastest elevator I've ever seen. Well that’s the kind of liberty the whole film takes but you will sure laugh it off.

   S. Manasvi

S. Manasvi is a FTII alumnus, who has written and directed Love U Mr Kalakaar for Rajshri Productions and has written many TV shows..

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