With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a "wacky weatherman" tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early-90s Los Angeles.
Richard E. Grant
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Twenty-something native Vermonter Mirabelle Buttersfield, having recently graduated from college, is finding her new life in Los Angeles not quite what she was expecting or hoping. An aspiring artist, she is barely eking out a living working as a clerk at the women's evening gloves counter at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills and thus she can barely make the payments on her massive student loans. She treats her job with a certain distance, often daydreaming as she watches the life of the rich as they shop at the store. She has made no friends, including from among her Saks colleagues, and thus lives a solitary existence, which does not assist in her dealing with her chronic clinical depression. So it is with some surprise that two men with a romantic interest in her enter her life almost simultaneously. The first is poor slacker Jeremy, who works as an amplifier salesman/font designer. Mirabelle continues dating Jeremy as only a relief to her solitary life, as Jeremy doesn't seem to ... Written by
Greetings again from the darkness. Gotta hand it to 60 year old Steve Martin. He cranks out the easy hits like "Father of the Bride" and "Cheaper by the Dozen" so that he can do his own pet projects like the underrated "Bowfinger" and now "Shopgirl". Based on his own novella, Martin explores the mid-life fantasy of a powerful, rich businessman who takes on a beautiful, younger, unspoiled country girl from Vermont.
While the insight into quiet desperation is always fascinating, Martin's script fails to really show any human connection between the three leads. Martin's own character, while easily the most privileged, is far and away the most distant and least interesting. The always interesting Claire Danes desperately wants to be loved and escape the ever-present cold existence of Vermont which continues to haunt her. Jason Schwartzman (fast cornering the market on quirky to the point of annoying dudes) is initially enamored with the idea of being with Claire (or anyone) but goes on the road with a rock band and finds himself ... or at least educates himself on how to fit into society.
Not sure if any of the characters have any real redeeming qualities, but they do make for moderately interesting film-making. Bridgette Wilson (Mrs. Pete Sampras) has a fluffy role as the envious make-up queen, Sam Bottoms makes a rare screen appearance as Danes say-little Dad and Francis Conroy (Beautiful Flowers, Six Feet Under) has a brief appearance as Daines Mom. Interesting side note is that Rebecca Pigeon has a small role ... she is the real life wife of the great David Mamet.
Although, the lighting is atrocious and distracting in most every scene, you do find yourself hoping that someone, ANYONE, discovers a moment of real happiness. Yes, this story could have been better presented, but it is worth watching to view first hand how people pretend to connect.
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