By Megan Bianco
After 20 years of struggling to get the film off the page and onto the screen, film legend Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way was finally released this month. The movie was originally co-written in 1994 by Bogdanovich with ex-wife Louise Stratten, and then it went through many stages of recasting from 2003-2012 before production finally went through in 2013. But the film was pushed back from release for two years. While not exactly terrible, the throwback screwball comedy isn’t exactly memorably amusing either.
In New York City, eccentric director Arnold Albertson (Owen Wilson) pays for a night with escort Izzy, or “Glow,” (Imogen Poots), then gives her a charitable $30,000 to change her profession and follow her dreams. Only her dream is to be a stage actress, and she coincidently ends up winning a role in his latest play. Meanwhile, the play’s writer, Josh (Will Forte), is living with Izzy’s therapist Jane (Jennifer Aniston), and Arnold’s wife and Izzy’s co-star, Delta (Kathryn Hahn) is attracted to the male lead, Seth (Rhys Ifans).
Cybill Shepherd, Illeana Douglas and Richard Lewis also make appearances in this all-star cast. What’s remarkable about She’s Funny is primarily Poots’ performance, which is charming and impressive, as are Forte’s scenes alongside her. But both acts are wasted on a comedy that isn’t very funny, and although Bogdanovich attempts to pay homage to old Hollywood glamorous nostalgia, his direction comes across as more outdated and stale, unfortunately. The long-awaited She’s Funny That Way sadly has too much going on and not enough naturalism for its great cast.