Shopgirl

Released 11/04/2005                              Rated: R

I read this book a while ago. It’s not a full blown book per say, it’s a novella. Regardless of how long the book was, I didn’t care for it. It wasn’t a bad read or poorly done, but I just didn’t like it. It could have been the characters, it could have been the content, I’m not one hundred percent sure. But I liked the movie about as much.

To quote Wikipedia, which I can’t say that I’ve ever striven to do but this single-lined summary is perfect: “The film is about a complex love triangle between a bored salesgirl, a wealthy businessman, and an aimless young man.” Honestly the entire plot of the movie is spelled out eloquently on Wikipedia. It almost makes the movie sound better than it is. It was advertised as a charming love story, but it just doesn’t come across that way. Maybe there’s just a difference reading it as opposed to seeing it play out. My friend and I found it awkward and uncomfortable more than anything else.

Mirabelle is a disenchanted salesgirl at the evening-glove counter at Sax. She craves human contact and is desperate  enough to settle for Jeremy, a young man whom she had no intention of continuing to see post their lousy first date, after hearing a radio show touting that “any touch is better than none.” So she agrees to what clearly turns out to be underwhelming sex. Then when Ray comes along and charms her with gifts and dinner and dates with meaningful interaction, she falls head over heels in puppy love enough to not fully hear him when he says he wants to keep it casual.

Jeremy is the most cringe-worthy character in the beginning. It’s painful how oblivious he is in regards to anything outside of his own thoughts. He can’t bother to clean out his car before his date, he thinks french fries are an adequate date contribution when he’s hoping to get lucky (not that he’s prepared for that either), and he waits until AFTER their date to tell Mirabelle that she looks nice. How he actually took to all the self-help books while he was on the road to become a decent human being, I have no idea.

And Ray…I want to like him; I want Mirabelle to be happy. But you know he doesn’t return the extent of her feelings. It could be the age difference, or his seemingly lack of emotion where she’s concerned that bothers me about him. And then he makes a bad decision; a selfish one. I’m just convinced there are no good characters here. Good as in decent human beings, not under developed.

So ultimately I didn’t like the movie any more than I did the book. I think I understand the characters better, but it’s been a while so I can’t say for sure. I was hoping that I’d like the movie better than I did the book, but that obviously didn’t happen.

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