I wandered into this in a theater in Europe without realizing it was the work of Peter Bogdanovich. Even without knowing that, though, it was obvious that the movie was trying to recapture the spirit of the old screwball farce comedies, with many unsubtle allusions -- like a private detective in a Pink Panther getup, or a cameo by a famous director also known for borrowing from old films -- that were meant to clue us in that the whole thing was a riff on movies and filmmaking themselves. The problem is that the classic comedies of Hawks, Sturges, Lubitsch and the like, at their best, had something besides farcical events: great, witty writing, truly funny moments (not just "funny coincidences"), a clearer send-up of wealth and social class. I'm struggling to remember anything like that in "She's Funny That Way." It's just a few hours later, and I can't recall a single line (other than the one that keeps getting repeated, which we learn is also from an old movie). It had the right sort of situation, setting, musical underscoring, and the requisite "zany" characters and plot, but it felt to me kind of like an empty shell, the outward mold of a screwball comedy still waiting to be poured full of the really good stuff.
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