Release Date: October 21, 2005
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Monday, June 28, 2004
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Girls usually have this little lean-away reaction to meeting Jason

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
3/85 Kim Hollis Full of melancholy and deep emotional resonance, Claire Danes, Steve Martin and Jason Schwartzman are all perfect.
7/166 David Mumpower Steve Martin's self-flagellation notwithstanding, this is a marvelous examination of the life of an attractive, naive woman used by a successful man and the unconditional love that liberates her.
12/60 Les Winan Blew the doors off my somewhat low expectations. Just outstanding work all around, particularly Jason Schwartzman with a character that could have been annoying.

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She was just a small town girl living in a lonely world. She did not, however, take the midnight train going anywhere like that girl Steve Perry knew. Instead, she moved to L.A. and took a job behind the accessories counter at Saks. Well, she originally took a job at Neiman Marcus in the book, but in Hollywood, there exists a thing called product placement, and Saks ponied up more dough for their spot in the movie.

Anyway, the point here is that Mirabelle, our heroine, is living a half-life. She tries to sell gloves in a city of perennial 70 degree weather, then she goes home to an empty apartment. There, she is even shunned by one of her two cats. Her dream of becoming a successful painter leads her to fill canvas after canvas with vivid imagery, but these works of art have received no attention outside the confines of the apartment.

Mirabelle is technically in a relationship with a kind-hearted but deadly dull boy-man named Jeremy. Since their chance meeting in a laundromat, the two have become lovers, but Jeremy's inexperience and general ineptitude prevent Mirabelle from attaining any sort of comfort in his fumbling, twitchy hands.

Then one day, a handsome, older man enters Mirabelle's life. This rich and successful stranger, Ray Porter, romances her in his fashion. He offers her the finer things in life but the best gift he gives this shrinking violet is dutiful attention. Like many lecherous men of his ilk, Porter wants to possess the beauty of Mirabelle but in a safe, controlling manner. His impact on the woman is profound, and it eventually leads her to question if his cold but loving touch is enough to satisfy her life's longings.

Shopgirl is a classic tale of a woman blossoming from timorous waif into mindful woman well aware of her needs. Paralleling her journey is the background arc of Jeremy, who is similarly growing into something of a more appropriate mate for our heroine. In the end, she will be left with the same choice all such characters have: to accept financial security in exchange for the sacrifice of her heart or to take a shot on a late bloomer recently showing some unexpected potential.

The Steve Martin story was universally hailed as a literary treasure upon its publication, so filming the script was simply a matter of time. The lone surprise is that Martin chose to take no chances with the character of Ray Porter by accepting the part for himself. Rushmore's Jason Schwartzman is a most appropriate choice for the romantic competitor of Jeremy, and the presence of such exceptional actresses as Frances Conroy, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras and Rebecca Pidgeon (in her first non-Mamet project in 15 years) confirms the pedigree of the project.

It's the casting of the shopgirl herself that clearly draws the line on this being more than your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy/drama. Claire Danes, one of the most gifted actresses of the current generation, takes on the title role here in a casting viewed by the staff of BOP as something of a masterstroke. Having watched her evolve from the tortured teen in My So-Called Life through a recent evolution into an action hero in Terminator 3, we are convinced there was no better choice available for this role.

As with L.A. Story, Steve Martin has again created a universe filled with archetypal characters in Shopgirl. The insecure beauty, the body-obsessed Model/Actress/Whatever wannabe, the aimless slacker with a pure heart, and the rich, dirty old man are L.A. society mainstays, and Martin takes a sledgehammer to all of them in the novella. After a streak of shameless moneymaker projects like Bringing Down the House and Cheaper by the Dozen, the cerebral but tortured Steve Martin best demonstrated in Grand Canyon and The Spanish Prisoner is back in play with this, his most personal film project. BOP is not even going to bother acting unbiased on this one, as we as a group have been counting down the days for the movie's release ever since the day of the novella's publication. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Shopgirl
Main Cast Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman
Supporting Cast Sam Bottoms, Frances Conroy, Rebecca Pidgeon, Joshua Snyder, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Gina Doctor, Anne Marie Howard
Director Anand Tucker
Screenwriter Steve Martin
Distributor Touchstone Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 104 minutes
Screen Count 8 (Estimated)
Awards Awards page for Shopgirl
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Shopgirl
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Bowfinger 8/13/9918.06 21.52 2706 6674.00 7619.9 66.37 79.09 3.67
Autumn in New York 8/11/0010.99 12.29 2255 4874.00 5244.7 37.64 42.10 3.42
LA Story 2/8/916.62 9.48 1092 6062.00 8351.4 28.85 41.32 4.36
Lost in Translation 9/12/030.93 0.93 23 40221.00 40221.0 44.57 44.57 0.00



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