|In Her Shoes (2005)
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Shirley MacLaine
Director: Curtis Hanson
Director Curtis Hanson is a chameleon in a jungle of typecast artists. While most directors tend to find a niche genre that they contribute to throughout their career, Hanson’s last three films (“L.A. Confidential,” “Wonder Boys” and “8 Mile”) couldn’t have been any more different. With the release of “In Her Shoes,” you can add chick flick to that growing list, although the film is arguably more chick flick-lite than the full-blown affair that drive most men away from theaters. It will undoubtedly attract more women than men, but it's an enjoyable movie for both sexes, despite the all-female cast and dreadfully long runtime.
The story revolves around two sisters: Maggie (Cameron Diaz), an irresponsible twentysomething who’d rather stay up late and party than settle down, and Rose (Toni Collette), a workaholic lawyer who hasn't had the greatest luck when it comes to dating. When Maggie overstays her welcome at Rose’s lush apartment, she hops on a train to track down the grandmother she never knew. Her Grandma Ella (Shirley MacLaine), now living in an assisted living community in Florida, welcomes Maggie with open arms, but she’s more than aware of her granddaughter’s plans to milk her for some cash. Instead, Ella offers her a job as a nurse with the promise to match whatever she earns, eventually confiding in a dying man who helps in unlocking her true potential while Rose is off chasing down the man of her dreams.
Based on the Jennifer Weiner novel of the same name, “In Her Shoes” isn’t perfect, but it’s got enough going for it to keep you interested the whole way through. The script offers a smart-and-savvy alternative to “Sex and the City,” and while it doesn’t deliver the same comedic flair, its representation of the female characters is near-flawless. All three leading ladies also deliver outstanding performances, with Collette effortlessly playing the paranoid traditionalist and MacLaine looking more elegant than she has in years.
Cameron Diaz steals the show, however, if only because her character goes through the biggest change of the three women. Diaz, who remains a force to be reckoned with when given the right part, never fails to entertain, but she’s really outdone herself this time around, proving that she can handle emotionally demanding roles and still look beautiful doing it. She's the reason that "In Her Shoes" works as the perfect date movie. Women will fall in love with the story and men will fall in love with her. It's win-win.
The single-disc release of "In Her Shoes" features a lackluster collection of bonus material that consists of three rather boring featurettes: one on the film's elderly extras ("A Retirement Community for Acting Seniors"), another on the casting of Hamlet the Mutt ("From Dead Row to the Red Carpet"), and a third one about the process of adapting the novel for the big screen. An otherwise complete waste of time.