27 Aug 2015

She's Funny That Way - film review

From At The Movies, 7:50 pm on 27 August 2015

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, starring Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots and Jennifer Aniston.

Simon Morris reviews Peter Bogdanovich's attempt to revive the old Forties "screwball comedy" in She's Funny That Way, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, and finds it to be a back-handed compliment to some even older comedies.

Back in the Forties – the Golden Age of the so-called “screwball comedy” - smart, literate film-makers offered witty, grown-up entertainments like The Lady Eve, Ball of Fire and His Girl Friday that still stand up pretty well today.

Over the years, screwball fans like Woody Allen and the Coen Brothers have attempted, with varying success, to revive the genre. But there’s no screwball fan like former film critic Peter Bogdanovich – he’s written books on the subject. And he’s decided to show the young folks what they’re missing with his new film She’s Funny That Way.

Let me put you out of your misery. There’s no wit, the script refuses to sparkle and the situations hang together as badly as wet toilet paper. The fact is, Peter Bogdanovich may be able to write incisive books about movies. He just can’t write movies. He certainly has no idea how to write punchlines.

In defense of the cast, they do what they can with the little they’re given, but you can’t make bricks without straw. She’s Funny That Way is full of half-remembered bits from half-remembered films. The characters are stock figures from another age, all without exception played by the wrong actors.

The worst thing is that clearly Bogdanovich thought he was making this film specifically for me. I’m sorry, She’s Funny That Way is an insult to far better films, and worse, it’s not remotely funny that – or any other – way.

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