Shopgirl

"Very Good"

Shopgirl Review


Based on his movies and comedy, Steve Martin appears to truly hate Los Angeles. And yet he keeps coming back here to make movies about how the city makes people so uncommonly fulfilled. It's love and hate. Passive and aggressive. Come to think of it, that's a lot like his new film Shopgirl.

Based on a 130-page story by Martin that is commonly termed a novella, Shopgirl is about a Saks 5th Avenue glove counter clerk named Mirabelle (Claire Danes). There's not much call for gloves in Los Angeles, so Mirabelle spends most of her days expressionlessly leaning against the glass, waiting for life to start. By night, she occasionally sketches a nude picture of herself: She's also an artist, again waiting to be discovered.

And so Mirabelle's life does begin, thanks to the near-simultaneous arrival of two men: Proto-slacker Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman) and obscenely wealthy (yet humble), late-middle-aged Ray (Martin). Mirabelle finds herself strangely smitten with both guys, though they couldn't be more different. Jeremy has a job as a "font designer" -- which turns out to largely involve spray-painting logos on amplifiers. He's dead broke and is emotionally retarded to the point where one wonders if Martin actually has any contact with anyone younger than 40 in the real world.

Ray is a "logician" who travels frequently for business via private jet. (Whoa, that's some rich math geek.) He picks up Mirabelle at the Saks counter and whisks her away from her one bedroom and into a life of Spago takeout, fine wine, and Armani ball gowns. When he explains to her that he wants to "keep his options open" -- and she misinterprets this -- the film makes its clearest statement, about how men and women see relationships differently. It's a bit cliché, but Ray is basically just using Mirabelle for sex, while Mirabelle is expecting Ray to end up with her, despite him being 40 years her senior.

When Martin was goofing off with Sarah Jessica Parker in 1991's L.A. Story it was kind of quaint and cute. Now that Martin is a full sixty years old, the whole May-December thing has gotten a little creepy.

About halfway through Shopgirl you realize that there's not going to be a wild story erupting that, oh, gets Mirabelle pregnant and confused over the identity of the father. The biggest twist comes, and I hope this isn't a spoiler, when we find out that Mirabelle has stopped taking her antidepressants. Whoa!

Directed by Anand Tucker (Hilary and Jackie), Shopgirl is a very pretty, moody, and lovely movie to watch. It's not really about anything, and the story is incredibly slight, but it's enchanting in the way a piano sonata can be. Maybe it's the natural charm of Danes that makes it feel so gossamer light, coupled with the goofy antics of Schwartzman which provide the proper amount of comic relief. It's a film that washes over you, and one that is ultimately so pleasant I've had trouble getting it out of my head.

On the other hand, I might just be confused by it all. The lack of momentum ultimately makes you focus on the message of Shopgirl, which is admittedly weak. Ray never really learns his lesson. Mirabelle never becomes self-actualized (though thankfully she gets back on her meds). And the only character, Jeremy, who really changes owes it all to the power of self-help books on tape. Though the film would like to be about how men and women see relationships differently, it's really about how Steve Martin and women see relationships differently. If you are Steve Martin, this film is definitely for you. Anyone else may want to take a date.

I'd like one with extra fingers.



Shopgirl

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 17th November 2005

Box Office USA: $10.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $11.6M

Budget: $10.3M

Distributed by: Touchstone Pictures

Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Hyde Park Films, Shopgirl

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Fresh: 90 Rotten: 58

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Jon J. Jashni,

Starring: as Ray Porter, as Mirabelle Buttersfield, as Jeremy Kraft, as Lisa Cramer, as Catherine Butterfield, as Dan Buttersfield, as Christie Richards, as Loki, Gina Doctor as Del Rey, Clyde Kusatsu as Mr. Agasa

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.