She’s Funny That Way Blu-ray Review
I’m very cautious when it comes to ensemble comedies. SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY isn’t an ensemble to the size that CLUE, IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, or MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL are. More or less it’s on a lower level like TROPIC THUNDER or ANCHORMAN. It has a couple of people who aren’t necessarily known for doing comedy, doing comedy. It also has established comedians focusing more on dramatic interpretations of a comedic scene. It’s an interesting way to present your dramedy, but it ultimately falls flat.
SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY is interesting and frustrating at the same time. It’s funny, but not laugh-out-loud funny. It’s well directed, but at times, directionless. It’s cute, but pandering. When SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY works, it’s immediately matched by something that feels awkward or forced. Its biggest flaw is that it’s too unsubtle to really get away with its screwball humor. It’s painfully obvious when everyone on screen is yelling at one another, followed by overacting.
The film is recounted through Isabella Beatty (Poots), a former lady of the night. She frames the rest of the story for the audience by talking with a reporter who’s curious about how a no name could suddenly become a household name. The reporter framing device is the first sign of trouble, since the movie trips on its own momentum by constantly going back to the interview, to reframe the next scene without doing it naturally.
Isabella’s big breakthrough, we come to find out, comes at the hands of Broadway director, Arnold Albertson (Wilson). He becomes smitten with her after calling her up as his escort for the night. The movie then takes a nose dive in believability as we watch Albertson write Beatty a $30,000 check to get out of the prostitution business and pursue her dreams of becoming a Broadway star. It’s a Christmas miracle that feels cheap.
The rest of the movie introduces us to more people in more unlikely scenarios that give birth to even more unbelievable scenarios. There’s too many to name and too few that are truly worth mentioning. They involve secrecies, hidden motives, and the promise that all of the continuous boiling of the plot will have an inevitable, and satisfying explosion of joy and laughter. But that never happens.
Generally a screwball comedy has something interesting to say under all of its zany humor, but SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY never says anything interesting. It seems like it confuses coincidence with clever writing. It’s really a shame because it’s shot beautifully and it’s a movie that really seems to allow the actors and actresses to breathe within the confines of their environment. It’s definitely a movie without restraint on its cast, but the problem is that there is no direction for them to latch on to.
SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY feels like a throwback to much better movies, specifically the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this review. In those movies, there’s usually a method to the madness and even when the plot becomes too absurd, a movie has the common decency to recognize that in its own humorous fashion. SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY has a lot going for it, but seems content with happenstance slapstick.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:85:1) The picture is gorgeous, but for some directorial reason, everything has a golden tint to it. Regardless the blu-ray presentation is outstanding.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The jump in excitement soundtrack blends well under the moments of stunned character silence and punchlines.
Commentary with Co-Writer and Director Peter Bogdanovich, and Co-Writer and Producer Louise Stratton: A choppy documentary that matches the movies pace, uneven. Not a lot of interesting tidbits in this commentary.
Behind the Scenes of SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY (16:37): An interesting feature about the making of the movie. The real highlights of it are the interviews with Owen Wilson, Will Forte, and Kathryn Hahn, at least in terms of acting in the movie. There’s some direction and style information that you pick up on that aren’t in the commentary.