“I think we all need some magic from time to time, don’t you think?”
Let’s for a minute believe you’re from Generation Y or Z, oblivious to the screwball comedy of the last century and heedless of director Peter Bogdanovich’s cinematic coups. To you, She’s Funny That Way may seem like an over-bearing but rapturous notion, caught somewhere between still-stuck-in-the-past and fantasy-world. But, don’t dismiss it just yet.
After a gap of thirteen years, the director of the 1972-released What’s Up, Doc?, gives us another gem. For the cynics of today, Izzy or Isabella Patterson, played by Imogen Poots is an oddly accented Brooklyn call girl who believes in magic and unicorns. The difference though is that her magical unicorn arrives in the form of a customer one night – a theater director, Arnold Albertson played by Owen Wilson. Arnold likes offering call girls a way out of their profession. He woos them; he charms them and after a satisfied experience, ensnares them with a shamelessly borrowed movie dialogue.
“Some people like to feed nuts to the squirrels, but if someone wants to feed squirrels to the nuts, who am I to say nuts to the squirrels?”
The screenplay here channelizes Ernst Lubitsch’s Cluny Brown and the do-what-makes-you-happy philosophy. Predictably, our starry-eyed Izzy is ready to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. By sheer stroke of luck, she lands an audition the very next day. We are then introduced to the other characters that add to our romantic roundelay – Arnold’s wife and ex-theater actress, Delta Simmons (Kathryn Hahn), her colleague/ex-flame and the star of theater, Seth Gilbert (Rhys Ifans), the playwright Joshua Fleet (Will Forte) and his psychotic girlfriend (who is possibly also the-worst-therapist) Jane Claremont (Jennifer Aniston). Confusion ensues when Izzy lands a role in Arnold’s play.
The film falls short at certain patches and it tends to drag a little. However, the movie captures the commotion in the story well and every character is developed perfectly. It plays on the playwrights’ fantastical mindset, the therapist’s snaps and snips, an obsessed judge’s fixation with the call-girl and an old detective’s futile attempts at camouflaging. The climax is almost fifteen minutes long but is able to keep us entertained and interested in the brouhaha.
In the end, we agree with Izzy. Everyone needs some magic from time to time, but is Bogdanovich’s magic enough? Watch it to find out.
Why You Should Watch The Film:
This film is not your typical romcom and that sets it apart. Watch it to see a contemporary screwball comedy from a master of many.