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 (Marinell H.)