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I love 'Funny Girl' but the sequel is a complete disappointment. There isn't a single catchy song and it goes on far too long. I can't name one I like. Fanny Brice is an endearing character in 'Funny Girl,' but in 'Funny Lady' she's just bossy, rude and completely full of herself. Don't bother with the sequel, stick with the original. The best thing about it is looking at all the outfits Barbra gets to wear!
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
How Lucky?23 Feb. 2002
- Published on Amazon.com
Barbra Streisand doesn't talk about FUNNY LADY that much. She did not include any songs or references to it in her 1992 CD collection "Just For The Record". (The FUNNY LADY soundtrack was not recorded for her record label - another possible reason why it was not included). Several of the Streisand biographies "quote" Streisand as saying that Ray Stark (the producer behind the successful FUNNY GIRL) would have to drag her to court in order to make FUNNY LADY. It is also said that Streisand's burgeoning love affair with former hairdresser Jon Peters sustained her during the filming of FUNNY LADY - as if the the romance made up for the fact that the work on a FUNNY GIRL sequel was unfulfilling. Whatever the true story is, we now have a brand new FUNNY LADY DVD from Columbia Pictures. For people like me who made the jump from VHS to DVD (and skipped the laser disk revolution in the 90's), it is wonderful to finally view this film in all its WIDESCREEN glory! James Wong Howe (no relation, although I'm proud to share his surname) photographed FUNNY LADY, and it looks good! The color palette utilized by the film's designers is a bit bawdy for my tastes. In some scenes, though, the design is wonderful - especially in the "Clap Hands" musical number with Ben Vereen. As for FUNNY LADY, the movie, it has held up well. Some Streisand fans jokingly refer to the Fanny Brice character in FUNNY GIRL as "good Fanny" and the character in FUNNY LADY as "evil Fanny". The script for FUNNY LADY completely changes the character. Fanny, grown up, is shrewd, cynical, and curt. She calls everyone "kid". After not having seen this film for several years, I think Streisand does a great job! "Fanny Brice" in FUNNY LADY is a true character that Streisand plays with an edge. She's not a particularly attractive character - a little annoying - but, nonetheless, a fully realized character. I think some FUNNY GIRL fans want the melodramatic Fanny back for FUNNY LADY. They want more suffering and torch songs and romance. The love affair in FUNNY LADY is not combustible. James Caan (as Billy) is a schmuck. Fanny sings a song called "Isn't This Better?" One of the lyrics says: "Passion is fine, but passion burns fast. Passion's design seems never to last." FUNNY LADY, I think, is about Fanny's decision to love again, but in a different, "safe and serene" way than she loved Nick in FUNNY GIRL. Enjoy it!
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
"See, Billy, in a tutu, I can be funny."5 April 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
The 1968 film version of FUNNY GIRL was an absolute masterpiece, and as perfect as a musical-comedy film can be. A sequel to this classic was not something that was ever needed to be made, but since the original was so successful (FUNNY GIRL was the highest-grossing film of 1968) and well-loved, it was pretty obvious why producer Ray Stark wanted to make this follow-up so badly. It took awhile, but he eventually convinced Streisand to sign on and reprise her role as Fanny Brice, with Herbert Ross (who had staged the musical numbers in the original film and had directed Streisand in the box office hit THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT) set to direct. Although the film was generally well-received by most critics and proved to be another big box office hit, many fans of the sweet-natured original did not care for the slightly more harsh and cynical tone of this follow-up, and it has since fallen out of favor with many Streisand fans. While no film could ever recapture the easy charm and beautiful sentiment of FUNNY GIRL, FUNNY LADY is highly entertaining when viewed on it's own terms. Streisand plays the now-hard-bitten Fanny with a depth and maturity that is very different from her characterization in the first film, but almost equally as stunning. Many viewers often complain that James Caan was badly miscast as Billy Rose. While Caan is physically wrong for the role of the short, unattractive Rose, he still comes across as oddly likable, and he has a nice comic chemistry with Streisand. Roddy McDowell is fun as Fanny's assistant, and veteran hoofer Ben Vereen brings down the house with a incredible, almost gravity-defying dance routine. Omar Shariff also returns for two very effective scenes as Nick Arnstein, the man Fanny will always love, but can't seem to live with. Though Streisand is in terrific singing voice, the song score is a bit more hit-and-miss. The period standards that Streisand vividly performs (particularly the bittersweet "More Than You Know," the gospel-infused "Great Day," and the heart-wrenching "If I Love Again") are absolutely fantastic, however, the heavily-promoted original songs from Cabaret composers Kander and Ebb are a major disappointment. The intended show-stopper "How Lucky Can You Get" is fine number that is made memorable by Streisand's scorching performance, however, the remainder of the original songs ("Blind Date," "Let's Here It For Me") are pretty forgettable despite Streisand's impassioned vocals. Fortunately, these few mediocre numbers (and the rather predictable narrative) are flaws that are very easy to forgive. No, FUNNY LADY doesn't hold a candle to FNNY GIRL, but the film remains a fun and enjoyable ride that should entertain those who loved the original. About the DVD: The picture quality is excellent - a bit more edge enhancement than there was the FUNNY GIRL DVD, but still great. The sound is also terrific, but I wish Columbia would have at least included the film's original trailer.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A Worthy and Cruelly Underappreciated Sequel30 Dec. 2003
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After reading so many negative reviews of this movie, I was surprised to find that I actually loved it. To refute: She is bitchy because she has been bruised. Notice upon another rewatching of "Funny Girl" how Fanny slowly but surely learns to cover up her pain and anguish through her constant performativity. Whatever innocence was left in her is gone after Nick walked out the door. "Funny Lady" is a worthy sequel because, psychologically, it starts where the last movie leaves off. Fanny must learn to love again. The reason you don't see "sweet Barbra" until the train sequence is because the movie is ABOUT the re-emergence of the sincere woman. Pay attention to the kinds of lines the writers of both "Funny Girl" and "Funny Lady" give to Fanny Brice. This is the same woman. Only older. Wiser. More bruised. And to those of you who call the movie "cliché," I wonder if you missed the ending. Is the movie overproduced? Yes. Is it poorly written? No. I would argue that this movie very nearly merits its original in quality, but because it very sincerely tackles the problems of maturity, the problem of Life After Love, its themes may be too complex for those looking only for another tragic love story. As someone who knows the power of First Love, I found this movie honest and moving, worthy in nearly every way to its prequel, and though there's not enough room in this space to defend it fully, I count myself among those prepared to do so. The DVD gets four stars because there are no special features.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
From Funny Girl to Funny Lady1 April 2002
gregory d. wirth
- Published on Amazon.com
I really enjoyed this format for the film. The aspect that disappoints is that there is no new material to include. I know for a fact that they had some deleted scenes, a "making of" trailer that played on HBO years ago in the 70's, and numerous other goodies to be included. The features that are presented are luke warm, at best. The film itself and the quality of the DVD is terrific. It's great to get this stuff on DVD format and not worry about preservation with video tape. If you enjoy cinematography, then watch the "How Lucky Can You Get" number a few times. The camera starts out wide, pulls in, draws back, and only has four cuts within the piece, it's absolutely brilliant for a musical number.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Elephantine Sequel to "Funny Girl" Still Has Certain Charms Here and There28 April 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
It's easy to malign this bloated 1975 sequel to "Funny Girl", the landmark 1968 musical which ably served as Barbra Streisand's launching pad into movies. This time, the story of Ziegfeld Follies entertainer Fanny Brice's years in the limelight does not provide a character arc which allows us to discover anything new about her character. Instead, director Herbert Ross and screenwriter Jay Presson Allen focus on the turbulent, sometimes comic relationship between the established Brice and her eventual husband, rising impresario Billy Rose. The staccato dialogue between the two, a far cry from the moony worship Brice held for gambler Nick Arnstein in the first movie, is what makes "Funny Lady" good light entertainment even though the old-fashioned narrative often feels disjointed and truncated.
Fortunately, in full diva mode as the success-hardened heroine, Streisand is at the top of her game, and James Caan brings youthful energy to his portrayal of the brash, egotistical Rose. The rest of the actors barely register, including Ben Vereen who doesn't have a single line of dialogue as entertainer Bert Robbins and an embalmed-looking Omar Sharif reprising his role as Arnstein this time as a preening, materialistic fortune hunter. What a shame that the swooning love story of the first film reaches such a cynical denouement in this story. There are songs written for the film by the estimable team of John Kander and Fred Ebb, and they meld nicely with the old, Rose-penned standards presented here. However, some of the production numbers are badly staged, for example, the faux-gospel take on "(It's Gonna Be a) Great Day" with a sequin-infested Streisand surrounded by an ensemble of uncoordinated dancers, or the clarion call of "Let's Hear It for Me" complete with a roadster and a biplane to replicate the driving rhythm of its obvious inspiration, "Don't Rain on My Parade". In fact, there are many ill-used references to "Funny Girl" from the opening montage to the overorchestrated refrains of "People" when Arnstein kisses Brice.
Moreover, the movie has a constant veneer of excess, especially the overdone Bob Mackie gowns, as if nothing seems rooted in reality. Through all this, Streisand does manage to create some breathtaking musical magic - her sonorous version of "More Than You Know" in the recording studio; her torchy, show-stopping lament, "How Lucky Can You Get" (although her revealing gown is rather distracting); and best of all, her pristine rendition of the old chestnut, "If I Love Again", set against a glass grand piano. Even Caan shows off a pleasant karaoke-style voice on "It's Only a Paper Moon/I Like Her" and "Me and My Shadow". Although it's always a risk to include a years-later scene with the actors in grayed wigs and heavy make-up, the ending reunion between Brice and Rose is saved by the alternating currents of humor and poignancy that Streisand and Caan generate. I only wish the film ended with a Streisand showstopper like "Funny Girl" did. But alas, the movie provides certain pleasures in spite of its various shortcomings.