She's Funny That Way
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (March 2015)|
|She’s Funny That Way|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Bogdanovich|
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Distributed by||Lionsgate Premiere|
|Box office||$6 million |
She’s Funny That Way is a 2014 American screwball comedy film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and co-written with Louise Stratten. The film stars Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Kathryn Hahn, Will Forte, Rhys Ifans and Jennifer Aniston.
The film centers on a call girl/escort-turned-Broadway-thespian Isabella/Izzy/Glowstick (Imogen Poots) and follows the “recurring intersection between these two facets of her life”. Broadway director Arnold Albertson alias “Derek” (Owen Wilson) pays for her escort services (and did for others), despite being married to Delta Simmons (Kathryn Hahn), the star of his new play A Grecian Evening. The playwright Josh (Will Forte) falls for her as well, despite the fact that he’s already dating her therapist Jane Claremont (Jennifer Aniston), whose alcoholic psychotherapist mother (Joanna Lumley), is in rehab in Tuscany for six months, leaving all her patients to her daughter. Actor Seth Gilbert (Rhys Ifans), the counterpart to Delta Simmons in the play, has been in love with her for years. The intertwined relations of all roles lead to misunderstandings and various surprises.
- Owen Wilson as Arnold Albertson
- Imogen Poots as Isabella “Izzy” Patterson
- Kathryn Hahn as Delta Simmons
- Will Forte as Joshua Fleet
- Rhys Ifans as Seth Gilbert
- Jennifer Aniston as Jane Claremont
- Austin Pendleton as Judge Pendergast
- George Morfogen as Harold Fleet
- Cybill Shepherd as Nettie Patterson
- Richard Lewis as Al Patterson
- Sydney Lucas as Josie Albertson
- Debi Mazar as Vickie
- Illeana Douglas as Judy
- Jennifer Esposito as Margie
- Tovah Feldshuh as Miriam
- Joanna Lumley as Vivian Claremont
- John Robinson as Andre
- Ahna O’Reilly as a former prostitute
- Lucy Punch as a prostitute
- Poppy Delevingne as Macy’s woman greeter
- John Tormey as Hot dog vendor
She’s Funny That Way originated from a script written by director Peter Bogdanovich and ex-wife Louise Stratten around 1999 and 2000. Bogdanovich and Stratten, who were in financial distress at the time trying to buy back They All Laughed (1981), decided to write a comedy to uplift their spirits. While writing the script, Bogdanovich was inspired by an incident in Singapore during the time he was filming Saint Jack in 1978, where he was able to talk to many prostitutes after hiring them for his film. He would give them more money than their salary for them to leave the prostitution business. The script was originally titled Squirrels to the Nuts, but due to many people misinterpreting it as a children’s film, Bogdanovich changed it to She’s Funny That Way. (‘Squirrels to the Nuts’ is a line used frequently in the film, lifted from the 1946 film Cluny Brown). Bogdanovich originally wrote the role of Arnold Albertson for John Ritter, but due to his death, he shelved the project. Bogdanovich later became friends with Owen Wilson, introduced to him by Wes Anderson, and he decided to change aspects of the character of Albertson: all of the physical gags intended for Ritter were changed to verbal jokes to suit Wilson. In 2010, protégés of Bogdanovich – Anderson and Noah Baumbach – offered their backing to get the film made, agreeing to serve as executive producers.
When the script was originally written, Bogdanovich envisioned John Ritter, Cybill Shepherd and co-writer Louise Stratten in the lead roles. In 2012, when the film was officially announced, Wilson, Brie Larson, and Olivia Wilde were signed on in lead roles. Larson was to play the call girl-turned-ingenue actress and Wilde would play the role of her therapist. Jason Schwartzman was also rumored to be in negotiations to play Wilde’s playwright boyfriend. Due to production delays, Wilson is the only actor to remain with the project. In February 2013, it was announced that Jennifer Aniston would replace Wilde in the role of the therapist, the same time Kathryn Hahn, Cybill Shepherd, and Eugene Levy were announced as cast members. Aniston was initially offered the part of Delta Simmons, Arnold Albertson’s wife, but she favored the role of the therapist, in which she was cast. Despite the commencement of filming on July 11, 2013, Imogen Poots and Richard Lewis were announced for roles of the ingenue and her father on July 22, with Will Forte taking the role of a playwright two days later. The same week, the casting of Joanna Lumley, Debi Mazar, Rhys Ifans, Lucy Punch, Ahna O’Reilly, and Jake Hoffman was set.
On August 29, 2014, She’s Funny That Way premiered at the Venice Film Festival. On September 12, it was bought by Clarius Entertainment at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. A screening at the Tokyo International Film Festival was scheduled for the end of October. In January 2015, the film was screened to the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The film was originally scheduled for a May 1, 2015 release in theaters nationwide, but Clarius Entertainment pulled the film from the schedule. However, on June 2, 2015, Lionsgate Premiere acquired the film after Clarius Entertainment dropped the film for unknown reasons. The film was released on August 21, 2015 in a limited release and through video on demand.
The film has received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 39%, based on reviews from 84 critics, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “She’s Funny That Way is an affectionate, talent-filled throwback to screwball comedies of old—which makes it even more frustrating that the laughs are disappointingly few and far between.” On Metacritic, the film has a score of 45 out of 100, based on reviews from 25 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.
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