She’s Funny That Way

If it walks like a Woody Allen movie and quacks like a Woody Allen movie, then why the hell is Peter Bogdanovich credited as the director? This movie genuinely felt like an Allen ripoff – the pacing, the dialogue, the screwball neuroses, the setting, hell, even the casting – I could never shake the feeling that someone was pulling a fast one on me.

A Broadway director (Owen Wilson) spends a night with a call-girl (Imogen Poots), and 21tips her $30K to quit whoring and change her life. He doesn’t expect her to wind up at auditions for his play the next day, but there she is, which makes things awkward because a) his wife (Kathryn Hahn) is the star and b) her co-star and secret admirer (Rhys Ifans) knows the director’s dirty secret and c) the oblivious playwright (Will Forte) is falling a bit in love with her, despite already being in a relationship with the former call-girl’s therapist (Jennifer Aniston). Got all that?

There are roughly a hundred more connections and complications I’m leaving out, simply because I’ll use up my bracket allowance way too quickly, but there are recognizable names even filling the minor roles in this thing. The script and the laughs are hit and miss, and the whole thing actually feels a bit anachronistic. In fact, the movie may have been in production for 20 years or more – Bogdanovich and his wife were still married when they wrote it, and they pictured John Ritter, Tatum O’Neal and Cybill Shepherd in the lead roles (two of those actually do appear in the film) (Oh shit I just used more brackets. Damn it, Jay!).

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She’s Funny That Way is sporting a painful 39% on the old tomatometer (for context: Batman V. Superman is boasting a 29%) but the truth is, this movie did something for me. It may have been – and this surprises me as much as anyone – mostly thanks to Jennifer Aniston. She plays the world’s worst, most indiscreet, self-involved therapist, and since that happens to be my line of work, it may have been slightly cathartic to watch her do and say all the things I spend my days and weeks and life holding back. For that reason alone I recommend Matt, my valued colleague, to watch this movie stat. Aniston lets loose with shesfunnythatwayepkfilmclipthatsjustwhatimeanth264hd000470012022her performance; she’s the one to watch in this, and she’s the one who took me by surprise, and my laugh-spit sure took Sean by surprise (although Poots is also quite good, I can just never say her name with a straight face) (oh feck, more brackets). It’s not gonna be everyone’s cuppa, but while I started out this review calling this a Woody-wannabe, the truth is, I probably haven’t enjoyed an Allen film this much in years.

 

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14 thoughts on “She’s Funny That Way

  1. reocochran

    This movie was hilarious and old fashioned laughs, Jay. My friend also laughed a lot when we watched this, hur hubby liked it, too. I don’t know who did really write it but Peter Bodanovich is talented and could have done this, right?

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      1. reocochran

        I just watched the Woody Allen film about Magic and séances, with Colin Further and Emma Stone a lot of character actors. I cannot remember the title but it was corny but entertaining. Jay, did you ever see this one?

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  2. Henry Chamberlain

    I does feel like a Bogdanovich movie with its slow-boil humor. Well, there is definitely overlap between him and Woody Allen. The premise is believable inasmuch as it made me wonder if Bogdanovich was drawing from his own experience. I wouldn’t put it past him…or Allen.

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  3. Silver Screenings

    This sounds like a lot of fun, especially Jennifer Aniston’s character. I’m also trying to think of the last Woody Allen comedy I’ve enjoyed… Saw the very fun Manhattan Murder Mystery recently, which never gets old for me.

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  4. John Charet

    I actually love this film and I am speaking as a huge fan of director Peter Bogdanovich who along with Robert Altman, Steven Spielberg and Brian De Palma are (in my opinion at least) the greatest of the filmmakers who came out of The New Hollywood era, which started in the late 60’s and ended in the very early 80’s. I also love Sam Peckinpah, but I do not know If he belongs in that group or not. Getting back on the topic of She’s Funny That Way, I would actually say that this is a Woody Allen film done right 🙂 and this is probably the greatest film that Jennifer Aniston has probably had any involvement in (aside from The Iron Giant). Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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  5. J.

    I’m fairly interested in seeing this one. Likely be another couple of years before I do, right enough. Does read like a Woody Allen movie … and his most enjoyable in a while.

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