“She’s Funny That Way” is set up for laughs, centered around a Broadway director casting his call girl in a play, starring his wife and her ex. But even a wild love triangle plot and solid cast (Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Rhys Ifans) can’t seem to save the Peter Bogdanovich-directed screwball comedy from poor reviews.
Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie a 44 percent rating, while many critics say the movie doesn’t quite bring the L-O-Ls.
“Cue the mistaken assumptions, intersecting subplots and crisscrossing relationships. For all its histrionics, the comedy is sluggish, plagued by wildly uneven acting, jokes that don’t land and a bizarre plot, let alone odd casting choices (Jennifer Aniston is unwaveringly shrill, and Wilson sounds flustered when delivering anything resembling rapid-fire banter).” — Nathalie Atkinson, TheGlobeandMail.com
“‘She’s Funny That Way, the director’s first feature since The Cat’s Meow 13 years ago, marks a nostalgic return to the classic screwball comedy and light-hearted romance that he channeled in films from the smash ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ to the underrated ‘They All Laughed.’ But as gratifying as it would be to report that the effortless touch, the livewire rhythms and the sparkling wit remain in evidence, those qualities prevail only intermittently in this strained though mildly enjoyable ensemble comedy.” — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
While the film may not be the most fitting for its aimed genre, some say it does have its redeemable qualities.
“It’s not a great screwball, but it is a charming throwback and a pleasant time-waster – and at 93 minutes, it won’t waste too much. Had it been produced in the screwball heyday of the 1930s and ’40s, ‘She’s Funny’ would have ranked as a middling effort, and probably been forgotten by now. But this isn’t even a case of they-don’t-make-’em-like-they-used to. They actually don’t make ’em.” — Chris Knight, National Post
“Bogdanovich and co-screenwriter Louise Stratten have an extremely large number of characters to juggle, and they make it look effortless; every performance is perfectly pitched, every relationship is fully realized and pays off in hilarious and occasionally touching ways, and the farce is appropriately chaotic yet clear and concise. This kind of classically constructed comedy has all but gone out of style, but Bogdanovich delivers it with such craft and energy he makes it seem modern again.” — Jim Hemphill, Paste magazine