A few formidable femmes bring heart and sincerity to 'In Her Shoes,' a chick flick that doesn’t rely on manipulative tear-jerking to connect with the viewer.Rose (Toni Collette) is a responsible, work-driven woman, who is often looking after and clashing with her sister, Maggie (Cameron Diaz), a carefree party girl. After the unmotivated Maggie betrays Rose, she kicks her out. Maggie soon discovers a long-lost grandmother (Shirley MacLaine) and leaves Philadelphia for her Florida retirement community in hopes of reuniting with her.
Each of the three female leads delivers a strong performance. Diaz delivers her best performance to date, while the ever-underrated Collette continues to shine as the saner of the two siblings. MacLaine is also very compelling as the source of a fractured family. Also worthy of note is the effortless performance of Mark Feuerstein as Simon, a colleague of Rose to whom she becomes attracted.
Adapted from Jennifer Weiner’s novel, Shoes is undoubtedly a chick flick. What’s so refreshing is that the film doesn’t resort to a calculated tugging of the heartstrings to make it effective. There is no tragic twist; in fact, only a minor character passes away, and it comes as no real shock. The story takes its time investing in the characters and their narrative arcs. The film chronicles the gradual role reversal of the sisters. As Rose becomes more of an extrovert, Maggie becomes less shallow and self-centered, and both grow as a result. (Is there any other way?) The contrast in setting seemed more akin to a Tim Burton film than to a female-driven drama. When Maggie arrives in Florida, it creates a contrast between the dull and drab Philly, as if suggesting that it is better in the land of the (nearly) deceased than in the land of the living. Of course, upon arrival, Maggie becomes the center of attention to the elderly males stuck playing shuffleboard.Despite a dyslexia subplot, the film tends to give off a genuine, sincere vibe to its story. 'In Her Shoes' may be a chick flick, but it is a more-than-tolerable option, thanks to its lovely leading ladies.