Friday, March 4, 2016

Shopgirl (2005)

Director: Anand Tucker

Writer: Steve Martin

Composer: Barrington Pheloung

Starring: Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Sam Bottoms, Frances Conroy, Rebecca Pidgeon, Samantha Shlton, Gina DOctor, Clyde Kusatsu

More info: IDMb

Tagline: Relationships don't always fit like a glove.

Plot:  A film adaptation of Steve Martin's novel about a complex love triangle between a bored salesgirl, a wealthy businessman and an aimless young man.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

I don't watch many romantic comedies because they're often trite.  This one caught my eye because it was written and stars Steve Martin.  The entire cast does a wonderful job and there are some good laughs but the romance is not what you typically get and that's one of the film's strengths.  Right from the start everything points to a leisurely paced and relaxed film, from Martin's narration to the easy going moments in Mirabelle's (Danes) life and the consistently casual, mellow score (apparently there are A LOT of people who hate the music and feel it's one of the worst scores ever but I completely disagree).  I thought the score was great and it fit the mood of the film very well.  For those who hated it (and there are apparently a lot of folks), keep in mind that this is a composer who has worked on a lot of films with the director so he knows exactly what the director wants and he delivers it.  Anand even says in the extras how much he digs the score.  So there!  Ray (Martin) is an interesting character that has difficulty with intimacy which doesn't really change all that much by the end of the picture.  He's a swell guy and he's honest to Mirabelle about his situation but it shows how difficult it is to maintain distance but with moments of closeness.  Relationships rarely work out the way you want in situations like that.  Anyway, I really liked the way Ray and Mirabelle were together.  It's a different story when it comes to the younger Jeremy (Schwartzman).  Unlike Ray, Jeremy has a pronounced character arc but it's clear his transformation is a work in progress with one foot firmly in his old ways...but he's trying.  Ray only shows a hint of progress despite his understanding that he's going to be miserable unless he fixes himself.  Perhaps Jeremey's story is told in much more detail in Martin's novel but it was the weakest part of the film for me.  Danes was delightful and a real treat to watch.  The Touchstone DVD has a nice anamorphic widescreen print with a few extras including a 21 minute featurette, 2 deleted scenes and an audio commentary with the director.  I only watched the featurette but I enjoyed it and it helped understand the film a little more in how it went from the novel to the screen.

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