Opening August 20, 2015
Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich
Writing credits: Peter Bogdanovich, Louise Stratten
Principle actors: Imogen Poots, Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn, Rhys Ifans, Will Forte
“Wherever you’re happy is your place.” One of two oft-repeated mantras in Peter Bogdanovich’s comedy – following a 13-year directing hiatus – the other is “ … who am I to say nuts to the squirrels?” As a hard-boiled journalist (Illeana Douglas) interviews Isabella (Poots), her bizarre tale including aliases—Glo and Izzy—emerges. Cutting back-and-forth, four years earlier Derrick (Wilson) offers Glo $30,000 to change her lifestyle. She does, then auditions for a Broadway play starring Delta Simmons (Hahn) with husband Arnold cum Derrick directing. A game of wits follows, implicating the playwright (Forte), celebrity co-star (Ifans), Izzy’s psychotic psychologist (Aniston obviously had fun), the elderly, obsessive patient (Austin Pendleton), and his multi-disguised gumshoe (George Morfogen).
Co-written with ex-wife Louise Stratten, this Bogdanovich homage to bygone cinema, and actresses, has quick, slick dialogue. Poots’ Brooklyn accent is irksome; Jennifer Esposito, Lucy Punch, Tovah Feldshuh, Quentin Tarantino, plus Bogdanovich regulars Cybill Shepherd and Tatum O’Neal fill cameo roles. Filmed in New York City, Yaron Orbach’s camerawork is unimaginative; production values are sturdy. Lacking the panache of Bogdanovich’s earlier comedies – who can forget What’s Up Doc (1972), or Paper Moon (1973)? – the fast-paced scenes with laugh-inducing quips make for an entertaining sit-through; still, who will remember it? Anyone leaving before end credits will miss Charles Boyer’s line in the clip from Ernst Lubitsch’s Cluny Brown about squirrels, nuts, and feeding. 93 minutes ( )