Review: In Her Shoes (2005)

Directed by: Curtis Hanson | 131 minutes | drama, comedy, romance | Actors: Cameron Diaz, Tony Collette, Shirley MacLaine, Richard Burgi, Candice Azzara, Brooke Smith, Mark Feuerstein, Francine Beers, Jerry Adler

What really interests director Curtis Hanson, what is the consistent factor behind his films? After the critically acclaimed and award-winning “L.A. Confidential ‘(1997) and’ Wonder Boys’ (2000) he decided in 2002 to make the Eminem movie ‘8 Mile’ and now in 2005 he suddenly comes up with the ‘chick flick’ ‘In Her Shoes’, based on the popular book from Jennifer Weiner. That there is a target audience for it – after the success of “Bridget Jones Diary” and the TV series “Sex and the City” – is clear, but does Hanson just want to fill his wallet? According to him, “In Her Shoes” is not such an odd man out at all. He believes that all his films have in common that the characters try to find out what to do with themselves and life, longing for human contact.

Well, characters who long for human contact, that indeed applies to the sisters Maggie and Rose. Maggie is beautiful but stupid and therefore lives her life without any sense of responsibility, as an eternal teenager. Rose is the opposite, because of her insecurity about her appearance (she thinks – wrongly – that she is fat) she usually stays away from parties and men, but plunges into her career. Neither seems very happy with this life, Maggie is incapable of more profound contact with men than the physical and Rose is stressed out and partnerless. Of course, Rose actually wants a bad man, while a very sweet boob is right in front of her nose. It wouldn’t be a romantic comedy if Rose didn’t see this Simon (Mark Feuerstein) in the end. Incidentally, “In Her Shoes” is not very funny. It’s mostly drama, the sisters’ deceased manic depressive mother, their miserable quarrel, “disappeared” grandparents and annoying stepmother, no wonder that IMDB only says “drama” by genre. In the retirement home with grandmother Ella (Shirley MacLaine), however, fun is the order of the day. For example, there is a scene in which the oldies watch “Sex and the City” with cocktails in hand, trying to connect with Maggie. Or the scenes where Maggie sunbathes by the pool and a horde of elderly men watch.

Probably the only reason men would want to see this film are those scenes where Maggie is scantily clad skipping through the screen. Cameron Diaz’s perfect legs and breasts are often clearly depicted (the legs are often naked, the breasts a bit more covered). But the men who were introduced to the cinema for this have to endure typical women’s problems for more than two hours. It starts right away with the caption: Shirley Manson from Garbage sings “Stupid Girl” and we see shoes, black shoes with high heels. Well, a few people will be excited about that, but the insecurity of Rose (incidentally well portrayed by the always good Tony Collette) that gradually diminishes and Maggie’s initial egocentrism that gradually diminishes, these are things that few men have for so long. will want to view. And not all women will be charmed by it either. All the drama should give the movie more depth, but it doesn’t. It gets stuck with sentimental wailing. Okay, it is pretty nicely portrayed and there is nothing wrong with the acting, but for a good drama it is all too light-hearted and if you want to see something nice about women and shoes, you better watch “Sex and the City”.

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