Saturday, October 29, 2005

Shopgirl (**1/2)

I'm a big fan of Steve Martin's novella of the same name, but the movie adaptation didn't really cut it. The casting may be spot on, but the script and direction are problematic in more than one way. For one thing, the tone of the movie is a bit all over the map. Many have compared this film to Lost in Translation, but that film more expertly weaved its comic and dramatic strands. Shopgirl is a bit more erratic and amateurish in that regard. I really enjoyed Claire Danes performance. Her character isn't the most engaging, but she's interesting to watch, and more importantly, comes across as a real person. Jason Schwartzman is likeable as the grunge slacker type, and Steve Martin is decent. I don't know what it is about his more dramatic roles, but I find him pretty boring as an actor when he plays it serious. Some comedians can do drama (Jamie Foxx, Robin Williams, Bill Murray), and Steve Martin isn't one of them. Watch out for some truly horrific narration as well. Thankfully, it's only used three or four times, but when it is, the movie suffers. All in all, a mixed bag.


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