Shopgirl
Then it hit them. The McRib was no longer available.

Theatrical Release Date: 10/21/2005
Director: Anand Tucker
Cast: Claire Danes, Steve Martin, Jason Schwartzman

Tired of all those long-winded essays on a film and its merits? Looking for a really short and to the point review? Then look no further than this review of “Shopgirl”.

Originally a novella by Steve Martin, the film was also adapted for the screen by him. Anand Tucker directed the film and one look at his previous films does not inspire confidence.

The film revolves around an aspiring artist, Mirabelle (Claire Danes), who has moved to Los Angeles from Vermont and is at a turning point in her life, both professionally and personally. She is looking for the courage to quit her safe job at Saks Fifth Avenue and really pursue her art. As for her love life, Mirabelle must choose between a lovable slacker (Jason Schwartzman) and a rich, older man (Martin).

There is one original point to the love triangle which I found refreshing. The men aren’t really in competition with each other. Neither ever meet and the movie is more about Mirabelle figuring out what’s more important, being taken care of by Martin or truly loved by Schwartzman.

Also on a positive note, Martin portrays L.A. life accurately and with a nice sense of humor. There are both subtle and overt jabs at Tinseltown behavior which work well, especially if you are privy to how it works out here on the Left Coast. To that end, there is a nice supporting performance by Bridgette Wilson-Sampras that also serves to remind me that I should have played tennis professionally. (You’re a lucky man, Pete!)

As for the main characters’ performances, Claire Danes is good but this role isn’t really new territory for her. Actually, for as beautiful she is, all of the nudity was really more uncomfortable than anything else. I know part of that was intentional, showing the awkwardness of being with an older man, but still … the only uncomfortable feeling should have been in my jeans, not my head.

Jason Schwartzman plays yet another quirky slacker with a heart of gold. Someone call his agent and get him another part. Wait, on second thought, what’s the point?

Steve Martin plays his role without any of the trademark sarcasm and it’s also a good performance. Actually, when I think back to his last serious role that I can remember, it was in David Mamet’s “The Spanish Prisoner” and the two characters are almost exactly the same. I’m losing even more interest in this movie and review.

“Shopgirl” gets a 2 out of 5 from me. If you are looking for a cute, romantic comedy – see something else. I was really close to giving it a 3 but in writing this review, I was reminded of how much the actors phoned in their performances and it irritated me. Though I think after drinking a keg of Foster’s, I would have sloppily written that 3 in vomit on the bathroom tile before passing out. Mmm … vomit art.