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When a lot of talented people decide to come together on a project, the first instinctual thought is: it must be good! Why would they all sign on if they didn't each see something in the film? Unfortunately, that idea doesn't always come to its logical conclusion, and there are many titles out there that are far from being the sum of their parts. From the looks of its first trailer, Peter Bogdanovich's She's Funny That Way appears to be one of these titles.
It's entirely plausible that this is just a really terrible trailer for what winds up being a passable movie, but it's honestly hard to feel anything positive towards this film. Peter Bogdanovich is a terrific filmmaker, and there is obviously some ensemble work going on here - Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Imogen Poots, Rhys Ifans, Will Forte, Kathryn Hahn, and Michael Shannon just to name a few - but I still find myself puzzled by the bizarre plot and all of the flat jokes.
Here's what I can gather watching this trailer: Owen Wilson is a play director who enjoys the company of hookers, but is also in the game of giving them ridiculous amounts of money turn turn their lives around (post-sex, naturally). One of these hookers also happens to be an actress (Imogen Poots) who then goes after a role in the director's play, and winds up becoming involved with someone working with the director (Will Forte). But he happens to be married to a therapist (Jennifer Aniston), who has regular sessions with the hooker. There may be a a weird, mad-cap comedy buried in here somewhere, but its hard to look past the bizarre accent choices and unfunny dialogue.
While this trailer is rather terrible, there is a part of me that hopes all of the problems can be fixed with better timing and context only the full feature can provide. A perfect example of this is the Michael Shannon line, "Alright lady, I'll put you down. You're an idiot!" This is a strange, Marx Brothers-esque line that doesn't fit tonally or stylistically with the rest of the comedy in the trailer at all, but within its own scene it might actually make sense and be funny. A guy can hope, right?
She's Funny That Way has actually been in the works for a long time, originally titled Squirrels To The Nuts, and was at first going to star Owen Wilson alongside Olivia Wilde, Brie Larson, and Jason Schwartzman. After being announced in early 2012, it didn't go into production until the summer of 2013, and - as you can probably tell - it didn't stir up much buzz when it went to the festival circuit. It played both the Venice Film Festival and the Tokyo International Film Festival in the second half of last year, but now has been picked up and will be in theaters on April 10th. Are you going to buy a ticket?