Sep 07

“She’s Funny That Way”: Another Inappropriate Therapist

The cast of Peter Bogdanovich‘s comedy She’s Funny That Way (2014) includes Jennifer Aniston, who’s garnered a significant amount of praise for her role as an inappropriate therapist.

A brief synopsis of the plot from Alonso Duralde, The Wrap:

Izzy (Imogen Poots) tells reporter Judy (Illeana Douglas) all about her crazy climb from call girl to famous actress, thanks to director Arnold (Owen Wilson, still in ‘Midnight in Paris’ mode), who has a habit of giving escorts enough money to change professions. Little does he realize that Izzy’s next audition in her newly-launched acting career will be for his own Broadway show, opposite his wife Delta (Kathryn Hahn, playing a more sympathetic character than usual) and lothario Seth (Rhys Ifans), who carries a torch for Delta and who witnessed Izzy coming out of Arnold’s room the morning after their night together.

But wait, there are more subplots. Jessica Kiang, Indiewire:

  • In her call girl/muse persona, Izzy enraptures an elderly judge (Austin Pendleton), who hires an equally aged private detective (George Morfogen) to follow her (love the throwaway gag that the detective agency’s motto is the forlorn ‘We’re never too busy’).
  • This gumshoe (the film is dotted with archaic slang) just so happens to be the father of the Broadway show’s writer (Will Forte), who also falls for Izzy, despite dating hard-ass therapist Jane (Jennifer Aniston), who is the judge’s analyst.
  • And Izzy’s. Delta and Gilbert have an ongoing flirtation, though Gilbert also patronizes Vicki’s (Debi Mazar) escort service, at one point hiring a delightfully dim-bulb Lucy Punch.

Unfortunately, this star-studded movie has generally been panned. A couple reviewers’ slams of She’s Funny That Way:

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly: “She’s pretty much a turkey, actually…”

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: “It’s a zany sex farce, less like a 1930s screwball comedy than like one of those faux-naughty comedies from the mid-1960s, and it’s as phony as those movies, without contact with real emotion or even with recognizable human behavior.”

The Shrink: How Unprofessional! Then Again, It Is a Farce

Robbie Collin, Telegraph, calls Jane “the world’s least sympathetic, least discreet therapist.”

Guy Lodge, Variety: “[Aniston] gleefully fashions Jane as a sociopathic psychotherapist to rival Dr. Fiona Wallice…(‘I’m not judgmental,’ she snaps to one terrified client who has just confessed a crippling romantic fixation, ‘but that’s just stupid.’)”

Still Want to See the Trailer?

In this preview of She’s Funny That Way you’ll get a pretty good idea of the various complications as well as the unacceptable-if-this-were-real-life therapist behavior: