Admittedly, going into ‘She’s Funny That Way’, I knew I was going to like it. The universal hype was certainly lacking, but I believed in my heart of hearts that this was the kind of film made for me – an erudite, endearingly comical, gaff-laden picture, anchored by a deep, vastly talented cast. ‘She’s Funny That Way’ not only delivered in the form of laughs, as any decent comedy should, it delivered with a highly intelligent narrative arc that constantly dashes left when you believe it’s heading right. It’s a throwback to ‘Murphy’s Law’ in the school of original comedy, where anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It’s something to behold when a picture can get the simplest forms of humour exactly right, and perfect those intricate nuances.
The biggest name you’ll recognize on the marquee is Owen Wilson, who may or may not have quite gotten over ‘Wedding Crashers’ as he’s been playing the same emotionally in-touch, genuinely good guy for about a decade now. In tow is the immaculate Imogen Poots, who is hands down my favorite actress and a woman I’m happy to advocate as the “next big thing”. Her simple, sultry, adorable character carries this flick, being continuously involved in the antics. Along for the ride in a supporting role is Jennifer Anniston who reprises her take on the aging, crazed, and aggressively unfurling professional that she did so well in the two ‘Horrible Bosses’ films – it plays equally as hilarious in this one. Throw in a little Rhys Ifans, a pour of Will Forte, and a dash of Kathryn Hahn; what you’ve got is the recipe for comedy magic.
The basic story goes that Arnold (Wilson) orders a call girl, Izzy (Poots), for one night and instead of the traditional pay for play, he takes her out on the town, shows her a marvelous time, and teaches her to appreciate herself, even convincing her to give up hooking. Izzy then decides to pursue her Broadway acting career, auditioning for a play the very next day. Funny thing is, Arnold is the director! With his wife (Hahn) in a lead role in the play as well, and her former lover (Ifans) playing her counterpoint in the play, Arnold’s world is turned upside down as he tries to manage the rampant innuendo surrounding him as the four congruent lovers mix things up and mash about the proceedings. With Forte and Anniston mingled beside in a romantic roundelay, hilarity ensues.
There truly is nothing to dislike about this film, unless you’re a daft critic who doesn’t appreciate daffy in-jokes written for movie lovers. It’s more funny faux-pas, not so much funny ha-ha. Believe me when I say: don’t listen to the critics on this one. It’s a story that’s been told before, perhaps, but it’s a story that really won’t get old for comedy lovers everywhere. If you want the next fresh comedy of year, an alternative to the more obvious ‘Horrible Bosses 2’, ‘Get Hard’, and ‘The Wedding Ringer’, then ‘She’s Funny That Way’ should be your first port of call.
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Starring: Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson, Kathryn Hahn, Rhys Ifans