She’s Funny That Way is the first theatrical release from director Peter Bogdonovich in nearly 13 years; his previous film, The Cat’s Meow, was released in 2001. While She’s Funny That Way is not a perfect film, it does have its moments and is very funny in spots. It is a welcome return for Peter Bogdonovich.
The story line of She’s Funny That Way concerns a love triangle between Arnold Albertson (Owen Wilson), a Broadway director, Isabella Paterson (British actress Imogen Poots), a call girl-turned-actress and Delta Simmons (Kathryn Hahn), a Broadway star and Albertson’s wife.
Arnold has the habit of using the services of call girls and then giving them large sum of money to pursue their dreams. This habit is used to comic effect in the movie as several women approach Arnold to thank him for his generous, life-changing gift.
Of course, Isabella turns up on the set to audition for a part in a show directed by Albertson. And much to his chagrin, she is perfect for the part. Hilarity ensues as Arnold tries to keep his trysts with call girls a secret from his wife.
The movie is an homage to the screwball comedies of the 1940s and 1950s. At times it evokes vintage Woody Allen (in a good way.) The writing is sharp and doesn’t depend on unnecessary profanity or gross-out gags to generate humor; the comedy arises from the situations themselves. Jennifer Aniston is particularly funny as an extremely unsupportive therapist.
One small criticism is Imogen Poots’ atrocious New York accent. She sounds almost as if she’s Eastern European trying to do a caricature of a New York accent. It becomes grating at times.
Look for many well-known actors in small, supporting roles.
Worth a look if you like screwball comedies.
Skip it if wacky comedies aren’t your thing.