Sonntag, 31. August 2014

Venice Film Festival: Manglehorn / She's Funny That Way

American director David Gordon Green's "Manglehorn" is a rambling, inconsequential, flat out uninteresting character study of an aged locksmith. Said character pines constantly for a lost love, leads an otherwise harmless if sheltered life but could turn obnoxious when family shows up for help. Through a densely written but drearily inexpressive script we don't get to learn much more about him through the course of the film, seeing how thinly his personality is sketched out and how poorly his motivations, or the change thereof, communicated. Al Pacino mumbles, rants, acts up the misanthropic type but can't elevate the material or bring us to care. Poor Holly Hunter is wasted in the thankless role of a lovestruck bank employee. The scene of their unromantic first date doesn't feel revelatory but strained and derivative. The supposedly life-affirming ending rather just sends the eyes rolling.

There's a serious Woody Allen vibe going on in American writer/director Peter Bogdanovich's relationship comedy "She's Funny That Way". Neurotic, manically wordy, sweetly contrived, it's an endearing crowdpleaser with some memorably hilarious bits. The bubbly script cooks up scenarios where a group of fiery characters are set on collision course with predictably disastrous results, which are genuinely amusing to watch especially when there's such comedic gold as Jennifer Aniston, Rhys Ifans or even, in a cameo appearance, Lucy Punch in the cast. Lead actress Imogen Poots also turns in a fine performance as the naive callgirl-turned-movie star but is outactd by nearly every one of her co-stars. Her delivery of the Audrey Hepburn quote near the end is winningly infectious though. Also welcome is an old-fashioned air of inoffensive jokes. Overall, no high art but unexpectedly entertaining.

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