A million miles from rom-com, Peter Bogdanovich’ famed for movies The Last Picture Show and What’s Up Doc makes his directional return with She’s Funny That Way, a film that hails a welcome comeback for a long-lost film genre.
Imogen Poots features as young Hollywood starlet, Isabella recalling how the actions of charming Broadway director, Arnold (Owen Wilson) have changed her life forever. The former escort reminisces to a reporter (Illeana Douglas) about her rags to riches fairy tale – a chain of events affecting the lives of everyone involved, including Arnold’s wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn), leading man Seth (Rhys Ifans), playwright Joshua (Will Forte) and even Isabella’s therapist, Jane (Jennifer Aniston).
The film maintains all the characteristics and fun of the farcical screwball features of the 1930s and 40s, transforming it into a modern day Hollywood farce. Owen Wilson is brilliant as a film director with a a mixed up private life, while Kathryn Hahn turns out a magnificent performance as his wife who goes from been wonderfully loyal to insanely jealous at rapid speed.
Imogen Poots gives an endearing comic performance as Isabella the former escort – come actress, who unwittingly becomes the centre of the ensemble characters attentions. There are also hilarious performances from Wales own Rhys Ifans as a womanising stage heart-throb and Friends actress Jennifer Aniston side-stepping her usual rom-com roles to play an unsympathetic and slightly unhinged therapist.
Some of the films finest comic moments also belong to Austin Pendleton as a Judge infatuated with Poots’ Isabella and George Morfogen the veteran PI whom Judge hires to spy on her. Look out particularly for a very funny restaurant scene involving much of the ensemble cast.
There are also a fun collection of cameo appearances from Joanna Lumley to Quentin Tarantino, all giving an indication that She’s Funny that Way was just as much fun to make as it is to watch.
She’s Funny That Way is available on DVD and Blu-Ray formats now.
- A version of this review by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on September 4, 2015