Thursday, January 19, 2006

Movie / Shopgirl

No way would I give this 5 stars, as did the SF critics -- 3 or 3-1/2 tops. It's sumptuously filmed, lots of intimate close-ups and a fair amount of sex and nudity. Many scenes are set in shadow, like a Bergman film. At times the music is too loud and busy for the quiet and somber mood on the screen. But its big problem is lack of depth. You might think this would be Steve Martin's answer to Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation," in which Murray played himself, complete with ad lib humor (and kept his hands off the girl). But it's not. Martin is playing someone else, a cold high tech millionaire who convinces himself that it's okay to basically use the younger woman (Clare Danes). Meanwhile she is practically a cipher, and it strains credulity that someone that good looking has such a limited choice of men. Two thirds of the way through I started asking myself, "what is this film about?" You know you're in trouble when it takes a voice-over (Martin's voice) at the end to explain it. There's another store clerk, a catty gold digger who the plot makes fun of, yet I found myself more drawn to her, perhaps due to her more interesting hair and makeup. The distributors knew this film woudn't play to the masses, and wisely it only ran on 2 screens, lightly attended on its opening weekend.

Originally posted October 31, 2005


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