The Movie Buffer

Thursday, February 16, 2006



Very few spoilers

***End Note***

‘Shopgirl’ was a movie that I was going into without expectations. It looked fairly similar to ‘Lost in Translation’ but I was happily surprised that it was rather different. I had heard that Coppola may have cribbed some of the content of this short story for her picture. The movie was good, though the third act was a pale finish to the story.

Though the director, Anand Tucker, is a relatively inexperienced, he does capture the fragility of relationships and love in general. This is characterized in the excellent performance he got out of the main cast. He maintains a good pace throughout the film not by adding complex shots but letting the story develop by itself. Tucker really gets the Los Angeles feel across with the shots of the city at night from the hills, the fancy shops and the expensive cars. Steve Martin’s screen play is pretty solid though it begins to show cracks near the end of the film. The resolution comes a little too quickly but this is forgivable because the build up was well constructed. The way the characters were written was very lifelike and believable. Alongside the love story there were plenty of laughs. It was a well constructed script that could appeal to pretty much everyone.

The acting in the film was excellent. Steve Martin turns in one his best dramatic performances of his career with this film. He plays an older tech millionaire who courts Claire Danes’ glove sales clerk. Danes fits the role of the introverted, humbly attired shop girl perfectly and we quickly learn that she has more depth than meets the eye. Jason Schwartzman plays an irrepressible, optimistic amplifier salesman who falls in love with Danes after seeing her at the laundromat. These three form a love strange love triangle, one side of which is heartfelt and subdued and the other is impulsive and messy.

Overall, the story is rather cute. We know, deep down, who Danes will end up but we want to see what happens next. This movie deserves a 7/10 or 3/5 stars. It’s an easy story to get into, but we have seen this thing before. The bookend narration was distracting, Martin being in the movie as one of the stars and the omniscient narrator struck me as odd. It’s mostly date movie fodder save one or two scenes.


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