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In Her Shoes (2005)

Reviewed on 2008 March 25

This is actually a good chick flick; I can’t think of how else to classify it and yet I don’t think there’s anything in here that will make a guy want to run away screaming, either. It’s smart and warm but not too sweet, with good acting and a good story.

Maggie Feller (Cameron Diaz) is a beautiful millstone around the neck of her smart, level-headed, plain-Jane (in her own eyes) sister Rose (Toni Collette). Maggie’s main goal in life appears to be getting men to buy her drinks. Rose is a staid attorney with one weakness she indulges: a closet full of amazing shoes. The insecure Rose feels fat and ungainly next to flashy blonde Maggie, but exasperated as she is by her irresponsible sister, she keeps helping her out. I think this is as much a sense of unity against their obnoxious stepmother as love for her sibling. Maggie is destructive and helps herself to Rose’s car and shoes, and Rose has enough one day when she sees Maggie also helped herself to her boyfriend. I was impressed with Rose’s restraint here. I might well have taken one of the espadrilles Maggie ruined and lodged it in her alimentary canal, but Rose simply throws her out.

Maggie has no place else to go, and she turns to her estranged maternal grandmother, Ella (Shirley MacLaine). Ella loves Maggie but isn’t going to cut her any slack. She’ll help her to an extent but Maggie must help herself.

Curtis Hanson took something that could have been Lifetime fodder and added depth to it. The acting also helped a great deal; Cameron Diaz’s Maggie could get you to want to strangle her and yet not hate her. Toni Collette’s role as “the smart one” wasn’t any easier; she could have lapsed into jealousy, self-pity or cattiness and never did. It also explains why so many women love a really fine pair of shoes. They’re a smart reward. They always fit when your other clothes may not. A pair of clearance sandals bought at the end of the season may cost no more than something at the bakery, but the sandals won’t widen your butt and narrow your arteries. One of my best friends and I tried explaining this to our spouses; Hanson summed it up with one sweeping shot of a woman’s closet.

Three chocolate morsels.


morsel morsel morsel

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