Cover Art and Menu: 4/10
Boring, obnoxious, and does not give a fair glimpse into what kind of film this is. It looks like some romping comedy, not to mention no on looks like that in the movie. Annoying to see such a clever story, told so well, in a film that looks so amazing to have a DVD cover that’s so completely horrible. The menus are just as uneventful. The box is a let down, thankfully the film is so good.
Extras & Features: 7/10
- 2 Deleted Scenes – Every once in a while a deleted scene would have made some difference in the final cut of the movie. This is one of those times. A leading man who wants to play around with a younger woman but have no emotional attachments explains this to her only once in the final film. As a result we do feel a bit more sympathetic toward her as time goes on. If this deleted scene had been left in you might not feel as bad for her since he really would have been making it painfully clear what his intentions, or lack there of, were all along.
- Director Commentary –This guy loves this story, he loves Steve Martin, and seems quite taken with Clair Danes, so his commentary matches all that with quite a bit of enthusiasm.
- Making Of Shopgirl – This is a really good, if not too short, little behind the scenes documentary about how Steve Martin’s novel came to be a movie. It’s mostly interviews with the director, producer, Martin, and some of the other cast members talking about their experiences with casting, converting the book to a screen play, and how they gave the movie a beautiful visual style through set direction and specific costuming.
The Movie: 9/10
I like movies that don’t fit into a category of any particular sort. Yes, Shopgirl has some love type stuff, and some comedy, and some drama, but when you mix it all together there’s no pigeon hole to put it in. I appreciate that.
For me Steve Martin is the guy who came on Saturday Night Live back in my youthful days, wearing an arrow on his head saying, “Well, exxxuuuuuuuuuse ME!”. Then it was on to The Jerk, Roxanne, and several other comedic ventures. He’s not that “wild and crazy guy” anymore, apparently now he’s a sensitive grown man with important observations about relationships which he feels compelled to put in a book, and now on to the big screen. Fine with me.
Shopgirl is a somewhat romanticized look at a simple gal from Vermont trying to make her way in LA. She’s not an actress or anything like that, she’s just trying to find something more than she could have back with good old boring mom and dad. It’s all kind of hopeless for her, or so it seems. With no love life to speak of and a life of quietness, she’s compelled to follow up on a chance meeting with some Looney acting guy in a Laundromat. I’d like to say it’s an impossibility that a pretty but lonely girl would take a complete stranger’s phone number and actually call him, but it’s all too real when you know how it is to be lonely.
She takes the leap, calls Jeremy, the somewhat goofy but likeable dude who seems to have nothing much on his mind, and from there changes begin to occur in her life.
Another chance encounter with a stranger brings the older man, Martin, into her life. He’s attracted to her as she works at the glove counter at Sachs 5th Avenue. He’s rich, handsome, and too charming for such a hopeful young woman. His money combined with his mature and satisfying sexuality are a lethal combination for any woman looking for Mr. Right.
So, the goofball sounds like a loser and Mr. Rich Charming man sounds like he’s too good to be true. Right on both counts. My husband said the rich dude was pretty much an ass for the way he treated the somewhat inexperienced Shopgirl. I didn’t agree at first. He made it clear to her that he wanted nothing permanent, nothing more than occasional encounters. The problem was that he did not take into account that this person he was trying to make into a convenient sexual option in his life, had genuine feelings. He overlooks that she’s a whole person, not just a whimsical figure he can dress up and make love to when the mood hits him. So, after some thought I have to agree that he’s a shit. A well dressed shit, but a shit none the less.
Through the story everyone goes through changes, of course. The loser Jeremy gets away from his daily grind and his one night stand with Mirabelle. He may or may not learn to reign in his affectionate dorkiness, but whatever happens, he’s not hopeless.
Ray Porter, the rich dude, doesn’t get the chance to change really. He’s doomed to be the aging guy who may miss out on the chance to be with a vibrant beautiful woman because of his own inability to be a real person in a relationship and not just a wallet with a penis.
Mirabelle may not totally change, but she is educated by her experiences and all of the emotional trials she forges through. She’s not apologetic for being naïve, nor does she come off as overly clever and ahead of any other woman her age. She’s nothing special really, but then again, she is destined to triumph over heartbreak, and that’s more than most women can claim.
The movie is gorgeous. There are different color schemes that run through each scene and each phase of the story. It put me in mind of Amélie and Trainspotting with the bold stylized shot designs and often basic backdrops that didn’t over power the action, but that have a life of their own. Some shots look like well composed drawings or paintings. I always love that.
I would say that if you think you know what Shopgirl is, you don’t. Unless of course you have read the book or had some jerk tell you every detail of the movie. It’s not a rom-com, or a drama-com, or any other tidy little genre nick namable kind of film. It’s a slice of one woman’s life with all it’s beauty and hurt laid out for everyone to see. Does she end up with the loser or the Mr. Charming? I think you know what I’ll say to that!!
If you like Steve Martin in his crazy antic flicks, you may want to rent Shopgirl and see a new side of the aging comedian/writer. If you like to have a romantic, funny, emotional movie on hand for those gray Saturday afternoons, go buy it and keep it close to When Harry Met Sally and Arthur. You do get a few little extras which are nice to add to the package so I say it’s worth a purchase.
Overall Score 8/10