Although the newly released movie “Shopgirl” is a comedy that presents a uniquely modern love tale with a well-known leading cast, it is only missing two things: humor and passion. “Shopgirl” is a mediocre movie consisting of mild performances within a bland plot.
Based on Steve Martin’s novella, “Shopgirl” lacks a romantic chemistry that makes the audience leave the theater with the uneasy feeling that they were waiting for a punch line of a joke. Claire Danes (Mirabelle Butterfield) and Martin (Ray Porter) had the potential to create a steamy love plot, but all intensity quickly evaporated within the beginning of the movie.
Butterfield, a depressed, Saks Fifth Avenue gloves saleswoman, meanders through life dreaming of what others have. She struggles in choosing between contrasting men in her life. Porter seems to promise security with his charm and luxurious lifestyle while Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman) captures her with spontaneity.
Schwartzman succeeds in displaying Jeremy’s character evolution from socially challenged man to an eventual gentleman. His revolting antics develop into a coy charm that in time makes his character easily embraced by the audience. Although Martin dreamed up the idea for “Shopgirl,” Schwartzman did a better job of characterizing on screen.
“Shopgirl” tries to take a modern, present day love story and create a dramatic spin, which just ends up being as depressing and dry as airplane food. If director Anand Tucker would have tried a feel-good movie approach, “Shopgirl” may have been a little more appealing.
Symbolism was an added positive to the film’s mysterious modernistic approach. Reoccurring themes were one of the few high points this film has to offer. A lesson in love is unapologetically taught in “Shopgirl;” sometimes what you want is right in front of you.
Martin should have left “Shopgirl” to Barnes and Noble. He has conquered humor many times, but should remain only within that genre. Watching Martin have a love scene at his age of 60 on camera is a little eerie and disturbing.
“Shopgirl” has an undeniably strong theme, but misses all of the other ingredients needed to make a high-quality movie. With its poor acting and depressing plot, “Shopgirl” lacks the vital elements needed to make the movie fit like a glove.