Tuesday, November 24, 2015
SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY (2015)
Directed By: Peter Bogdanovich
Written By: Peter Bogdanovich & Louise Stratten
Cinematography By: Yaron Orbach
Editor: Nick Moore & Pax Wassermann
Cast: Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Kathryn Hahn, Jennifer Aniston, Rhys Ifans, Austin Pendelton, Will Forte, Illeana Douglas, Jennifer Esposito, Lucy Punch, Colleen Camp, Debi Mazar, Cybill Shepherd, Richard Lewis
*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review
On the set of a playwright's new project, a love triangle forms between his wife, her ex-lover, and the call girl-turned-actress cast in the production.
This film is an homage to old Hollywood that feels outdated and like it might have fit more in the 80's or 90's but by now feels already dated and it was made this year.
People Magazine reported this film going into pre-production in the mid-1990s, with the title "Soup to Nuts" and featuring Tatum O'Neal in the leading role. Peter Bogdanovich was quoted as saying "This movie is my gift to her."
It's a screwball comedy. That feels like it is missing a few steps in it's choreography. As here the film wishes to have more of it's sparks verbally, but is never sharp enough to feel any. So it comes across more as dull. In the past director Peter Bogdanovich has paid tribute to screwball comedies of the past while making quite a few of his own. That more required physical comedic timing and choreography that was where the Sparks came from and were the impressive parts of his films such as NICKELODEON, STEPPIN' OUT . Here it is more verbal and uninteresting. Plus usually in screwball comedies the films are gaining momentum so that when all is revealed there is a big blow up. Here they never really happens.
The film seems built on a whole plethora of misunderstandings. Which would be fine if even one of them or the characters were believable.
Throughout the actors constantly feel like they are performing rather than be actual characters. Making it constantly feel more like a broad theatrical piece throughout.
Owen Wilson's character makes no sense. Nor is there an explanation for his predilections. Nor is it really explained are we supposed to like and root for him? As the film gives him Plenty of flattery. Though seems more tailor made for his personality and type of roles he usually plays. Still his characters motivations are never truly made clear and seem more of a gimmick to define his character and cause all these problems. Lending itself to many politicians and men in power who end up letting little mistakes in the form of fetishes take them down.
Just as Austin Pendleton's character is similarly here just for, it seems to muck up everything and make characters more connected. Even though his character seems unnecessary.
Jennifer Aniston and Kathryn Hahn are both talented, but their strengths seems to be mislaid in their roles here. They should have switched roles as each has the others rightful role.
The cast is well recognized though the one cast member who stands out is the female lead Imogen Poots who is mesmerizing and charming even if her supposed Brooklyn old school accent is forced and over the top. Though she seems to be the only cast member who is at least trying.
She was actually a last minute replacement supposedly For Both Brie Larson and Olivia Wilde. Who both at one point agreed to star until having to drop out due to separate Scheduling Conflicts.
The film is filled with many recognizable character actors in small roles and cameos. They half the fun of the film Is picking them Out. Like a Robert Altman film of the 90's
The film seems particularly mean to Will Forte's character. Who is a doomed nice guy. Who unlike in other screwball comedies never has a scene where he has a single unlike able or dastardly trait. His character seems headed for a nice romantic ending, but seems cut short in exchange for an excuse for a cameo that ends up providing an explanation of a term, but it feels Un-needed and not funny. Though I guess it shows it's old school appreciation roots and some points for coolness.
The film seems like it has great ideas. The pitch I am sure was wonderful, but it seems like what is on screen is the director trying to include everything that was in the initial pitch. Which he might have been making up on the spot. As the film seems too overloaded with coincidences, misunderstandings and confusion.
It also seems like it attempts to have that slapstick comedic screwball type choreography. When it comes to physical comedy and stunts. Though more low key, less energetic and not near as dazzling as Bogdanovich had marveled in the past with. I don't know if the cast is unable or wasn't really put forth as much.
The film just seems like someone older not only trying to be relevant and relate to a younger audience with the same old tricks. Which unfortunately doesn't work. At least when it comes to Woody Allen films other then looking great the ones that work have themes and a relate ability, they also manage to master both comedy and drama into a mix that has big moments that can go either way in the form of emotion and mood. Here everything g feels misty and stale. A film that seems to appeal to the director's sensibilities more then to anyone in the audience.
Throughout i kept hoping the film would straighten itself out and stay in line with his last great film THE CAT'S MEOW.
First feature Peter Bogdanovich has directed in 12 years, since THE CAT’S MEOW. He and former wife, Louise Stratten share the screenplay credit.
I wish I could recommend the film highly, but this is a film more for completist. As the film seems to have an outline, but needs to be stronger, better planned and thought out.