Sunday, April 21, 2024

Exclusive: Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson Star in Peter Bogdanovich’s LOL Comeback Comedy


UPDATE Clarius Entertainment has bought “She’s Funny That Way for $4 million. They previously released the very bad “And So It Goes.” This one is much better.

EARLIER Film buffs revere Peter Bogdanovich for his dramatic epic classics “The Last Picture Show” and “Mask.” But I have a soft spot for his hilarious farce “What’s Up, Doc?” with Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal and the magnificent Madeline Kahn. It’s a gem of slapstick French farce, with much hotel room door slamming and missed messages.

Now Bogdanovich has a comeback comedy he’s written with ex wife Louise Stratten. It’s called “She’s Funny That Way” but was filmed last year under the title “Squirrels to the Nuts.” Only Peter could have made this movie in which everyone turns out to related to everyone else, and the entire movie is based on each character making the wrong assumptions about each other. It’s hilarious.

The best part of “She’s Funny That Way” is Jennifer Aniston playing a shrink who tells anyone who asks the identity of her patients and what’s wrong with them. She’s sarcastic, snippy, self involved, and unaware of her behavior. This is what Aniston should play all the time, not these namby-pamby heroines in romcoms. She has wonderful comic timing that’s lost in those films. Bogdanovich saw this in her, and it works.

Owen Wilson is a theater director with a new Broadway play starring his wife (a great Kathryn Hahn) and a big British star (Rhys Ifans). The star has inadvertently caught Owen with a hooker in their hotel– this is a sublime Imogen Poots, who carries the film. Wilson builds on his “Midnight in Paris” work– he’s so watchable and pleasant here, so, shall I say, mature. Even though his character is basically bedding call girls, he actually seems sympathetic.

The movie is filled with cameos– Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter plays a limo driver, there are cameos from Tatum O’Neal, Colleen Camp, Tovah Feldshuh and Lucy Punch. Cybill Shepherd, Richard Lewis, George Morfogen and Austin Pendleton are hilarious, as are Jake Hoffman, Illeana Douglas, Will Forte and Debi Mazar.

I’m told several distributors are vying for “She’s Funny That Way.” Whoever gets it will have a solid spring hit–the perfect movie after a long winter. How nice to see Peter Bogdanovich back in a big way!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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