"Relationships don't always fit like a glove."
Mirabelle Buttersfield (Claire Danes) is an aspiring artist in her mid-twenties who, after graduating from college, moved to Los Angeles, where she works at the glove counter of an upscale department store. Mirabelle's job is simple and not demanding, but it doesn't pay especially well, and she finds herself struggling to get out from under a growing mountain of debt from student loans and credit cards. One night, while doing her laundry, Mirabelle meets Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), a scruffy but likable would-be musician who makes ends meet selling guitar amps. While Jeremy is obviously infatuated with Mirabelle, she isn't sure how she feels about him, especially after she meets Ray Porter (Steve Martin), a man in his fifties whom she meets at the store. Ray is independently wealthy, intelligent, and charming, and after asking her out on a date he sweeps her off her feet. However, while Mirabelle quickly falls for Ray and he's generous to a fault with her, he refuses to commit exclusively to her and suggests they should both see other people, a prospect that no longer holds much appeal for her.
This is a pretty good movie. It may be deemed unpalatable to see Steve Martin slobbering all over Claire Danes, but their relationship is presented in a realistic manner and in fact poses less of a problem than that between Danes and Jason Schwartzman. That coupling is unlikely at best, as the latter's character is uncultured to the point of mild retardation. As for the story itself, Shopgirl is diverting enough, and with an affecting underbelly of sadness, heightened by diversions such as Danes's battle against depression and the miserable tone of her parental home. For me however, it fails to answer the basic question asked by Danes towards the beginning of the movie as she is approached romantically by millionaire Martin - " why me?". Well indeed. In real life perhaps, but here the lead character appears as a gloomy semi-starved fashion tragedy, in a job that screams 'going nowhere'. The role is perfectly played, but contains little to entice jet-set love interest. The fate of the movie is, alas, unlikely to give a happy ending. This is far too pretentious for the brainless rom-com crowd and not quite profound enough for the indie set. For those who do discover it will be a nice if unmemorable surprise.