WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A single shop clerk (Claire Danes) is looking for love and companionship. She meets a very poor lowlife (Jason Schwartzman) and a wealthy schmoozer (Steve Martin). Can she shop for love or is she stuck feeling lonely?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
What do you get when you film an “unfilmable” book? You get the very melancholy SHOPGIRL. I didn’t have any initial thoughts or feelings after viewing SHOPGIRL, partly because my brain and emotions were muted by the sad, lonely film. Steve Martin has told a pretty different story with some quirky characters with many flaws all colliding with each other. The love triangle meanders its way along as all the characters are feeling lonely. Max Fisher, I mean Jason Schwartzman’s character is adorable and provides a few laughs. His idea of a makeshift condom is hilarious. Ultimately, he’s so sad and way too weird to really be fond of. Claire Danes is great as the lead but I couldn’t really feel too sorry for her character as she’s got a lot going for her but just “chooses” to be let down. Steve Martin is kind of warm and fatherly but has an element of creepiness.
So, is the movie good? Like the feelings it emotes, it’s rather dazing but not in a good sense. There are few laughs but a whole lot of nothing happens. The characters are wonderfully flawed but unrealistic. I gravitate towards cinema to take me out of my mundane state (which is what these characters are in). I want to be shown possibilities. This movie just doesn’t provide any of that, it just shines a mirror on my own crappy state and doesn’t provide any real hope or answers. I like Steve and this is definitely a good effort but it just lacks that movie magic. Maybe it would have been best left on page.
Audio Commentary by Director Anand Tucker >> Tucker goes through the motions of relating how he filmed Martin’s book. So-so.
“Evolution Of a Novella: The Making of Shopgirl” >> 22 min > Steve explains how and why he decided to turn the book into a movie. He also talks about the characters, actors, and a few of his own experiences.
Finally, there are two unnecessary Deleted Scenes.
For the most part, I wouldn’t recommend SHOPGIRL to anyone as I imagine a remote few may be slightly interested in the subject material. The book may be a good read, but the film is just too cold and isolated for me to enjoy. On a different note, I think Jason Schwartzman rules and can do just about anything. What other guy could play a scumbag you’re meant to hate but just love anyway? I’ll leave you with a quote from his character, “I've been reading a lot of books on tape.”
Props 2 > Steve Martin for trying and Jason Schwartzman for being himself.
Final D >> Find something else