Review: SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY Puts The Fun In Funny

Editor; Australia (@Kwenton)
Review: SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY Puts The Fun In Funny
Peter Bogdanovich's screwball sensibilities thankfully do not get the better of him in the absurd and kinetic She's Funny That Way. The film follows the various dramas, loves and lusts of the players of a theater production in New York, focusing on the romance and quirky scenarios that occur outside the play itself. These moments become slightly ribald and surreal set-pieces; each situation building itself up for a wrong time, wrong place cataclysm that has you in stitches at the best of times.

Owen Wilson leads the pack as Arnold Albertson, a playwright with an uncanny knack for assuaging his womanizing guilt. His latest conquest sees him arrive in New York with cast and crew, including famous heartthrob and lead actor for the play Seth Gilbert (Rhys Ifans). There Seth witnesses call-girl Isabella (Imogen Poots, and the narrator of most of this story) enter Arnold's room. Arnold wines and dines her before giving her a fair sum of money to never 'hook' again and to start a new life. To say the very least, complications arise when Isabella takes his advice, follows her dreams and gets cast in his play; much to his chagrin as his wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn) is producing it, while the actor Seth simultaneously pines for her.

This exasperating turn of events is just one of many in the layers of screwball comedy that busy up the screen as much as possible. There is barely time to take a breath before the next scenario is set up, sending all involved into very hot water. Regardless of its overall silliness however, the screwball moments feel earned. Bogdanovich is an excellent director and he works very well with the cast to get them to the 'x' that marks the spot of situation comedy. They arrive at these moments through kismet, bad decisions and chance. Strangely, nothing in the screenplay feels forced, lending credence to the charming and hilarious pay-off the grand scenes consistently deliver.

The majority of the drama takes place outside the actual theater itself as art imitates life and the reality of the production is stranger than the fiction behind it. The rest of the cast work like gangbusters to support the inane love triangle that forms the central plot. Each of them is a ridiculous caricature of New York Broadway, and each one is consumed by narcissism, pettiness and neurosis. Bogdanovich and co. have a lot of fun with the material and that is clearly presented on-screen. He pokes fun at Hollywood, thespians and dream chasers in an entirely fresh screwball manner that feels classical in approach, but is enlivened by the manic energy of all involved.

Two of the most hilarious sequences in cinema this year can be found in the film, as it perfects the screwball recipe with all the ingredients just perfect. The climax of the film does not quite reach the grand heights of wit witnessed before it, but it does emphasize how ultimately silly and fun the films intentions are, including a cameo that will leave you extremely bewildered.

The film opens in theaters in Australia from 27 August via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Australia.

She's Funny That Way

  • Peter Bogdanovich
  • Peter Bogdanovich (screenplay)
  • Louise Stratten (screenplay)
  • Imogen Poots
  • Illeana Douglas
  • Graydon Carter
  • Owen Wilson
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Imogen PootsJennifer AnistonOwen WilsonPeter BogdanovichReviewShe's Funny That WayLouise StrattenIlleana DouglasGraydon CarterComedy

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