STUDIO: Touchstone
MSRP: $29.99
RUNNING TIME: 106 min.
• Evolution Of A Novella: The Making Of Shopgirl
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentary By Director Anand Tucker

The Pitch

“I’ll buy you diamond rings, my friend, if it makes you feel alright.”

The Humans

Steve Martin (Houseguest), Claire Danes (The Mod Squad), Jason Schwartzman (Slackers)

The Nutshell

Poor, lonely Mirabelle (Danes) suddenly finds herself wooed by two very different men: starry-eyed young slacker Jeremy (Schwartzman) and jaded older millionaire Ray (Martin). Where Jeremy is a walking disaster with no ambition and nothing to offer, Ray is confident, generous… and ultimately incapable of sharing his life with her.

Should Mirabelle choose love or security? Or should she just wait until she realizes that she’s a knockout who shouldn’t have any trouble meeting guys?

The Lowdown

On the surface, Shopgirl appears to be the story of a young woman facing a transformative experience, but the point-of-view is really Ray’s. In retrospect, this makes sense: after all, Martin wrote the screenplay, adapted from his book, reportedly based on his experience. He even narrates the film, and in so doing continually reminds us that the story is a deeply personal one for him. Perhaps it’s because it’s so personal that he seems hesitant, or unable, to explain why Ray is the way he is, or in what specific way his influence on Mirabelle is a positive one.

"Now I know why they call you Rushmore."

Meanwhile, the character of Jeremy seems to exist solely as a mathematical opposite to Ray. At least Jeremy evolves, but the path he takes to self-improvement is laughable—of the three characters he’s the one Martin understands least.

Is this remoteness intentional? Although the production openly begs comparison with Martin’s L.A. Story, the resemblance is closer to Gattaca with its sleek, sterile environs and lush but repetitive musical score.

"Wanna see All of Me?"

I have a confession to make: I was initially going to pan this film. Immediately after watching it, I resolved to dismiss it as artificial and schematic. Then I went to bed. And then… I dreamed about a girl I haven’t seen in six years. The great missed opportunity of my life so far. In the dream I walked up and kissed her, then almost immediately checked her finger for a ring. After I woke up, I realized– I only looked on her right hand…

So I guess there’s something to Shopgirl after all—an admission that most of us never let go of our regrets, and a revelation that we don’t have to understand our problems in order to acknowledge them. This movie may well flip a switch in your head, but what you get out of it will depend on what you bring to it. I can’t think of better relationship advice than that.

The Package

An anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer does a decent job of Peter Suschitzky’s shadowy, saturated cinematography. While the 5.1 mix doesn’t offer up anything as exhilarating as L.A. Story’s Big Enya Attack, it serves just fine. As for the supplements, lemme save you twenty minutes of Making Of: Everyone was a dream to work with, and they’re all geniuses. Director Anand Tucker’s commentary track is similarly blind to the film’s flaws, but that’s love for you. The two deleted scenes are rather dull. The film’s excellent theatrical trailer is not included.

7 out of 10