Opening 20 Aug 2015
“Wherever you’re happy is you’re 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 (Imogen Poots), her bizarre tale including aliases -- Glo and Izzy -- emerges. Cutting back-and-forth, four years earlier Derrick (Owen Wilson) offers Glo $30,000 to change her lifestyle. She does, then auditions for a Broadway play starring Delta Simmons (Kathryn Hahn) with husband Arnold cum Derrick directing. A game of wits follows, implicating the playwright (Will Forte), celebrity co-star (Rhys Ifans), Izzy’s psychotic psychologist (Jennifer 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. (Marinell Haegelin)