She's Funny that Way - Think again, she isn't that funny - 2 stars

"There are no “old” movies-only movies you have already seen and ones you haven't." 
- Peter Bagdonovich
Walking into the cinema...                    When  considered directing a new film for the first time in 12 years, many actors signed up before reading the script. The question: does he have the same directorial magic that delivered The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon? 

Overall Rating: 2 stars
Cinematic rating: 2 stars 
Bigger questions rating: 2 stars

      She's Funny that Way is an attempt to show how Hollywood provides ordinary people with the opportunity to dream big. Legendary director Peter Bogdanovich focuses his lens on the Hollywood dreamer, Isabella "Izzy" Patterson (). She is given the freedom to spin a retrospective tale of the relationships in her life and how they propelled her from call-girl to acting success. It is a less-than-believable fairy tale of happenstance and mayhem that connects the lives of the cast and crew of the Broadway production, A Grecian Evening. The play's director, Arnold Albertson (), finds himself in the precarious position of having to cast Izzy, even though he knows her from her escort career. The female lead of the stage production is his wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn) and her ex-lover Seth Gilbert (Rhys Ifans), which leads to a surreal series of inter-connected, comedic situations. Adding to the bizarre mix is  (Friends) who plays Jane, Izzy's self-centred therapist that is in a failing relationship with Arnold's playwright Joshua Fleet (Will Forte), who is drawn into the gravitational pull of the young actress' orbit. If you are having a difficult time following the film's description, it does not get any better while watching the film. 
      Reminiscent of the screwball comedies of the 70's and 80's, this Peter Bagdanovich's screenplay was supposedly pulled out of mothballs from a bygone era. Not to mention that he has not directed a major motion picture in 12 years. This directorial choice has the potential to honour his cinematic past, but becomes a misstep in a memorable career. Since the announcement of the production and the signing of the primary roles of the project, all of the actors have changed, except for Owen Wilson. 
       The production back story helps to explain the dated feel and the cinematic chaos that is portrayed on the big screen. There is little that is redeemable about this film. Most of the characters seemed to be walking through each scene as if it was the first and only take. Jennifer Aniston wins the best over-acting award of the year and Imogen Poots' provides the most unforgivable and distracting Brooklyn accent in recent memory. The only redeemable performance was Illeana Douglas as the reporter who hears Izzy's adventure. Her cynical tone and delivery add the rare comedic twist in the otherwise humourless storyline. Bagdonovich's reliance on the coincidental series of events lacks the comedic timing to provide the needed humour for this film and it remains stuck in the mire of celluloid mediocrity. He states that this was his love letter to New York City, but he must have not added enough postage for it to be delivered properly. 
        She's Funny that Way will only appeal to the most loyal of Bagdonovich's fans, but does open the door to some of life's bigger queries. A key theme was the futility of trying to hide personal transgressions. Even though the veteran director tries to paint Owen Wilson's character as a flawed man with a good heart, he proves that all sins are found out in the end. This central character attempts to hide his past, but each lie pulls him into a vicious cycle of self-deception. The film is a tangled web of the human condition and proves that when confronted with temptation the best choice is to turn and walk away. Which is what you should probably do instead of purchasing tickets to see this forgettable comedy, just turn and walk away. 

Leaving the cinema...
This film provided little in film-viewing enjoyment. Peter Bagdonovich should have kept this script hidden away and allowed us to remember him fondly for his past brilliance.

Reel Dialogue: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film? 
1. What does the Bible have to say about romance?  (Proverbs 5: 18-19, Song of Solomon)
2. Can we find true redemption in this life? (Romans 3:24-26, Ephesians 1:7)
3. Where can we find real love, hope and joy in this broken world? (Acts 24:14-16, Romans 8:24)

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #shesfunnythatway