The ‘Last Picture Show’ director presents a throwback to the classic screwball comedy which tickles some critics at the annual film festival.
Owen Wilson is back! Well he kind of never really went away, but the actor appears to be back to his best in She’s Funny That Way, a new comedy which has just debuted at this year’s Venice Film Festival. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who is definitely back after over 13 years away from the director’s chair, the film has been generally well received by critics since premiering at the annunal event on Friday.
Owen Wilson was in attendance for the She's Funny That Way premiere
Wilson stars as Arnold Albertson, a Broadway director who enjoys charming call girls using lines stolen from old Ernst Lubitsch films. But at the same time Alberston also considers himself a hopeless romantic who tries to rescue his escorts, giving them money in the hope they’ll turn their life around.
One of his benefactors is Izzy, played by Imogen Poots, who decides to use the money he gives her in order to pursue an acting career, which will lead the pair to inevitably meet again at an audition down the line.
Alongside Wilson and Poots Jennifer Aniston and Rhys Ifans also star as part of the ensemble cast which also promises a few star cameos.
So far critics have mostly been able to see the funny side, with many finding it a return to form for both Wilson and Bogdanovich. Writing in the Evening Standard, David Sexton described the movie as “an absolute riot, a triumph, a retro screwball comedy that easily matches the classics of the genre.” Adding that, “It’s so fast, so snappy, it bowls you over and you never quite recover your balance.”
But not all critics have been able to see the funny side. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw described it as “so much like a B-grade Woody Allen picture that you might well assume it is a conscious homage specifically to him, rather than to the 1946 Ernst Lubitsch picture Cluny Brown which provides a recurring dialogue motif.” While The Independent’s Geoffrey MacNabb called it “absurdly contrived and flimsy film”.
Director Peter Bogdanovich alongside Owen Wilson and Kathryn Hahn
Earlier this week Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman opened the Venice festival to rave reviews. The annunal event, which is celebrating its 71st year will continue this week before Ann Hui's drama film The Golden Era brings it to a close on September 6th.