Poots plays Isabella "Izzy" Finkelstein. She uses the last name Patterson instead. Derek is a director in from L.A. His wife is an actress. He's casting/directing a new play in which the Mrs. will star when she flies into town. He checks into his A-list Manhattan hotel room. As he's ordering an escort on the hotel phone, his little boy and wife call on his cell phone. Izzy lives at home in Brooklyn with her loud parents, played by Cybill Shepard and Richard Lewis, when she gets a call from the escort agency. She gets into Manhattan to meet her john. She likes Derek. He finds her sweet. In bed after sex, they chat about being told where your place in life is. He gives his opinion about people telling you where your place is. If you're a classic film fan and think his short monologue about "squirrels to the nuts" sounds familiar, you're correct. It's word-for-word what Charles Boyer says to the gorgeous lady plumber played by Jennifer Jones under the kitchen sink in the first 15 minutes of Cluny Brown. That 1946 feature from 20th Century Fox is one of my favorite comedies directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
Before Isabella and Derek parts, he wants to inspire her to seek a new career. He gives her a generous sum of money to go out and change her life. She doesn't like being a prostitute. She dreams of being an actress. Time passes. The wife comes to NYC. Auditions for the play begin. Izzy gets an audition to play the likable hooker in the Broadway play. Derek is flustered to see her show up at the audition. She's surprised to see him and to discover his real occupation. And his real name. It's Albert. The clueless wife is present and thinks Izzy is perfect for the role. She pushes for her to be cast. The leading man recognizes Izzy because he was one of her johns. Wackiness and complications ensue. You get the impression that being a hooker is smart career move for a young woman. Jennifer Aniston has a supporting role as an obnoxious therapist. Everything that was annoying about her as the therapist in Horrible Bosses 2 is expanded here. Izzy bcomes one of her patients. Another of the shrink's patients is a married man who was one of Izzy's johns and he's still obsessed with her.
This movie was scheduled to open here in May but the release date was pushed back to late August. There was one performer in a small role who really broke me up. Lucy Punch plays a slim blonde Russian call girl whose got a cellphone and the I.Q. of a potato. She works for the same agency Izzy did. Punch's bit part made me laugh out loud. She actually came off like a character from a Lubitsch comedy.
By the end of the 1940s, the bright meteor of Sturges' writing/directing career oddly began a swift descent, crashed into Earth and burned out by the end of the decade. In the 1950s, he wrote scripts for weak remakes of two of his top movies -- one remake starred Mitzi Gaynor (based on The Lady Eve) and the other was a Jerry Lewis vehicle (based on The Miracle of Morgan's Creek).
I often think that Peter Bogdanovich was the Preston Sturges of the 1970s. I hope he gets his director/screenwriter mojo back. Rent his comedies What's Up, Doc? and Paper Moon. You'll see what I mean. Also rent Cluny Brown by Ernst Lubitsch.