SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY (Peter Bogdanovich). 93 minutes. Rating: NNN
Where to watch: iTunes
She’s Funny That Way feels like you’re sitting around enjoying a latte and easy laughs with old friends. There’s legendary director Peter Bogdanovich dusting off an old screenplay he co-wrote with his ex-wife, Louise Stratten. Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston and even Michael Shannon show up to stretch their legs in inconsequential roles and bask in Bogdanovich’s former glory with alumni like Cybill Shepherd (The Last Picture Show) and Tatum O’Neal (Paper Moon).
Many other recognizable names join in for this frothy situational comedy about a call girl (Imogen Poots) getting mixed up with the oddballs who orbit show business before she becomes a star. The results are occasionally very funny. Despite an anemic script, these old pals know how to goof off with each other.
Like Bogdanovich’s early work, this antiquated affair tips its hat to Hollywood’s golden age. British star Poots intently channels Audrey Hepburn, batting her eyes at all the disingenuous men and angry women swarming around her while sticking to that Holly Golightly romanticism.
The homage to screwball classics, Ernst Lubitsch in particular, is welcome considering the cynicism and vulgarity that characterize today’s comedy. On the other hand, Bogdanovich uses that homage as a free pass, slapping together lazy coincidences and contrivances without Lubitsch’s finesse or conviction.
You can yearn for more. Just remember that you’ve probably settled for less.