Comedy Week kicks off here on the “F.I.L.M. of the Week” series with a look at “Shopgirl,” an inspiredly funny adaptation of Steve Martin’s novella that is also tinged with a fair amount of melancholic reflection. The movie takes a look at an unassuming girl entering the urban jungle of Los Angeles to find herself confronted with a choice between two very different relationships with two polar opposite men.
Mirabelle (Claire Danes) didn’t expect much when she moved from Vermont to LA and began working the glove counter at Saks. Yet suddenly, she is faced with some very big problems, namely love. Unsure of what it is, how to find it, or how to recognize it, she sits back passively waiting for it to come to her.
Sure enough it does come, although in two very different forms. First, she meets Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman). He’s a bumbling fool with no set of social skills, but he does have the best of intentions and all of his heart to offer Mirabelle.
Second, she meets Ray Porter (Steve Martin). Unlike Jeremy, he’s a smooth operator who always does things with class. Despite being music older than Mirabelle, they both find themselves falling for each other. He’s a very wealthy entrepreneur with all of his wallet to share with her, buying her first fitted dress. Yet he often feels a little too distant, hiding away parts of himself.
“Shopgirl” is everything a romantic comedy should be, scorning formula to provide a thought-provoking rumination on love in the modern world. In the context of these two relationships, Mirabelle is searching for love although unsure of what shape or form it will take. The movie doesn’t hold back and is willing to delve deep into the psychological ruin of not finding love. But it’s precisely because it goes there that there’s just an irresistible charm about this movie. Even when the going gets rough for Mirabelle, we still feel light as a feather.