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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.31%
Worth A Look38.46%
Average: 10.77%
Pretty Bad: 12.31%
Total Crap: 6.15%

7 reviews, 23 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Buyer's Remorse"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL: Based on the popular novella by leading man Steve Martin, "Shopgirl" is a light yet mature (and somewhat pensive) romantic comedy that, I suppose, would best be described as "L.A. Story" meets "Lost in Translation." It's a mellow and mature tale of May-December romance, and the film's to be commended for treating the young hottie / older man romantic conventions with a lot more gravity than one might expect.

When you see a rich older man walking with a pretty young thing on his arm, your first reaction is generally pretty predictable:

She's with him because he's very wealthy and protective. He's with her because she's young, firm, and sexy, thereby giving the fella a chance to reclaim some of his youth through the power of sex.

But the main characters in Anand Tucker's Shopgirl are not exactly the shallow opportunists that you'd normally roll your eyeballs at; the young woman has the opportunity to date a guy her own age ... but she likes the older chap for a variety of reasons. And this rich and distinguished "older man" is not even remotely in it for the sex alone. Indeed, the guy has a raging inability to connect with women on a romantic level.

So there's actually a lot of unpredictable insight to be found in Steve Martin's screenplay, which results in a droll, dry and generally satisfying delivery of unexpected romance, understated humor, and knowing swipes at the human condition.

Plus it's got Jason Schwartzman as a goofball who yearns for just a bit more maturity, so that he can woo the sort of gal who spends time on the arm of a late-middle-aged millionaire. Funny stuff.

Shopgirl is neither an indictment of nor an apology for the "trophy girlfriend" syndrome. As a matter of fact, the flick brings to light several warm and wistful insights into why older guys crave younger gals -- and it's not just for the sex, regardless of how obvious that reason may seem.

As department store glove-seller Mirabelle Buttersfield, Claire Danes delivers some of her best work in years; probably the best of her career. As Ray Porter, Steve Martin, seemingly a little bit inspired by the recent work of colleague Bill Murray, underplays his role perfectly as he creates a rich, classy guy who just wants some companionship -- even if he seems physically unable to fall in love. And Schwartzman's supporting turn as Mirabelle's more "age appropriate" suitor, Jeremy, brings a satisfying dose of offbeat humor and arcane warmth to the proceedings. Love Shopgirl or hate it, there's little denying that the three leads are at the top of their game here.

Familiar on the surface yet boasting some mellow and serene surprises throughout, "Shopgirl" is a classy, quiet, and entirely enjoyable look at one particular strain of modern romance -- and it might just inspire you to think a little bit differently the next time you see a 60-year-old guy holding hands with a 30-year-old cutie.

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originally posted: 09/09/05 16:44:05
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Chicago Film Festival For more in the 2005 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Austin Film Festival For more in the 2005 Austin Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/18/10 Dr.Lao Its sad to see a true original like Steve Martin re-hashing cliches and calling it a script 2 stars
3/24/08 ladavies I was touched by this. It had some moments that felt authentic. 5 stars
5/19/07 David Pollastrini CLAIRE DAINES IS HOT IN THIS! 3 stars
5/17/07 ES Everytime I see Jason Schwartzman on the screen I want to punch him in the head 2 stars
9/18/06 Jaden The movie worth the $10, this reviewer is trying to sound smart but has no clue. 5 stars
9/01/06 Jim Interesting but plotless character study 4 stars
4/27/06 Phil M. Aficionado Yes, yeah, right, bingo. It IS life, and it is beautifully done all around/ 5 stars
4/23/06 Mase Definatley for people living in LA, Beautifully shot but a little hollow. 4 stars
11/28/05 Milo A truly awful stinking turd of a movie. It's not honest, IT'S BORING. 1 stars
11/28/05 Elizabeth S Heartbreaking. 4 stars
11/19/05 Jimmy Kustes For those that like character studies over narratives 5 stars
11/15/05 Kyle Molin Good Movie. Well acted even w/o Jimmy Fallon. Still, the book was better 4 stars
11/15/05 Amy Loved the book. Loved the movie. 5 stars
11/15/05 Khan Jari Californian overwrtought , pretentious fluff. Pathetic. "This is life"??? Gimme a break. 1 stars
11/13/05 Ali Shamelessly sentimental and equally insensitive...sounds like real life. True and honest. 5 stars
11/13/05 Rae touching, beautiful and awkward 4 stars
11/11/05 John Adams This was a well written thoughtful look into something that probably happens more often tha 5 stars
11/07/05 brit Tries to be artsy but instead completely ridiculous. Also insulting to women. 1 stars
11/05/05 db I thought the movie was excellent. It was nice to go to a movie about real life. 5 stars
11/03/05 very funny with a steve martin sence of humor 4 stars
10/14/05 Sarah S Great movie, interesting juxtaposition of artsy scenes with funny. 5 stars
9/13/05 Alex Brisbourne A real treat (and a surprise). Good script, well produced. Enjoy! 4 stars
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  21-Oct-2005 (R)
  DVD: 25-Apr-2006

  20-Jan-2006 (15)


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