Is “Funny Face” funny? Well, not even.
“Funny Face”, directed in 1957 by Stanley Donen, starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and scoring Gershwin’s songs may be an iconic musical but it hasn’t aged well. The movie doesn’t feel like a classic, it feels dated and I confess to finding it really boring.
The plot is simple: Maggie Prescott (played by Kay Thompson) is an intimidating New York fashion magazine editor looking for the next big thing. Maggie and her top fashion photographer Dick Avery (played by Fred Astaire) use a Greenwich Village bookstore as a backdrop for a photo shoot, but Dick soon realises that Jo (played by Audrey Hepburn), the intellectual young woman in charge of the bookstore, could be the new face of the magazine. Dick and Jo go to Paris for more pictures. They fall in love. Of course.
“Funny Face” is thin on plot and characters, shoving in numerous and overlong dance numbers just to keep things going.
The tunes by Gershwin are not catchy at all.
The dance numbers don’t really impress, which is a pity for a musical.
And Fred Astaire doesn’t even tap dance.
Audrey Hepburn’s character is depicted as a modern and young woman filling her empty head with silly Parisian intellectualism and theories made to sound as ridiculous as possible.
Jo may be a black swan in a potato sack but we are far from Ugly Betty, right. The audience has to buy the idea that she has a funny face, but who can forget that Jo has Audrey Hepburn’s face? No one, exactly.
There is something totally inconvincing and even creepy in the Hepburn/Astaire pairing. She was 28 and he was 58 at that time but her gamine looks combined with his frail silhouette enhance so much the age-gap that Astaire looks like Hepburn’s grandpa.
The pictures by Richard Avedon (visual consultant on this movie and loose inspiration for Astaire’s character) who provided the photographs seen in the film, Audrey Hepburn’s dancing sequence in the night club and the stunning Givenchy outfits are the only saving graces of this disaster.
Kay Thompson, who usually worked behind the scenes as a musical director for films, makes here a rare and energetic appearance on camera as Maggie Prescott, which character is loosely based on Diana Vreeland.
Legend has it that Diana Vreeland once sent a memo to her staff urging them to “Today let’s think pig white! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have stockings that were pig white! The color of baby pigs, not quite white and not quite pink!”, which explains the solo dance number “Think Pink!” performed by Kay Thompson in “Funny Face”.
Let’s stick to that, ok? I give you here my pink number 😉
Paul Ka dress and heels – Fendi purse and accessories – Bvlgari sunglasses