She’s Funny That Way– Peter Bogdanovich, 2014, 12
Netflix rates it: 2.5/5
I rate it: 3/5
A new streaming option for the New Year, Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny Like That throws it back to old style comedies of the 1930s and 40s in the way it’s directed and filmed, with vintage-looking filters over some shots. Described as a screwball comedy, the film follows the rise of young actor Isabella (Imogen Poots) and shows her beginnings as a call-girl and her journey to the world of theatre through clips from an interview with her in the present time. With plenty of twists along the way, it is slowly revealed that all the main characters are linked somehow, providing plenty of laughs at the crazy coincidences they all find themselves in.
Despite the character links being slightly confusing in the beginning, everything starts to make sense after all the characters are introduced properly and from then on it is easy to follow (no flow charts needed!). Such an intricate web of relationships between the main characters is formed that the audience finds it entertaining to watch them figure everything out.
The cast is surprisingly high-profile for an independent film, with Owen Wilson, Kathryn Hahn and Jennifer Anniston making appearances. Anniston portrays her psychotic therapist role perfectly, making for entertaining viewing as she diagnoses others whilst clearly having issues herself. Since the film is based around a play, the level of drama from the characters is extreme, but this only emphasises the outrageousness and theatrical nature of the film and its subject matter. In fact, it seems like the film could almost be a play itself with its focus on few locations and a relatively small main group of characters, which is enjoyable to watch as it seems like a combination of the two art forms. Hahn in particular portrays her character’s theatricality in everyday life very well, even saying stage directions aloud as she exits a room at one point.
To be honest, the fact that many Netflix viewers have rated She’s Funny That Way so poorly is puzzling, because its unique storyline is so amusing to watch unfold. The vintage style is carried out impressively, with plenty of references to classic films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and actors such as Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe. This only provides more enjoyable material, seeing Poots’ character relate to these infamous people and storylines in a charmingly optimistic way despite her interviewer’s obvious cynicism.
Overall, She’s Funny That Way is a nice variation from the typical romantic-comedies readily available on Netflix, and its play-like presentation gives it an extra entertaining element. Such a comical film with a cast this great is definitely worth a watch, and look out for a surprise cameo appearance at the end which results in an unexpected conclusion!