IN HER SHOES
*1/2 (out of 5)
October 7, 2005
Cameron Diaz as MAGGIE FELLER
Toni Collette as ROSE FELLER
Shirley McClaine as ELLA HIRSCH
Mark Feuerstein as SIMON STEIN
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Curtis Hanson
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
There are people in this world that are exactly like Maggie and Rose, the characters in the film “In Her Shoes.” However, just because they exist doesn’t mean they need to have their own movie.
Normally, it’s the characters that make a film great. However, this is the exact reason why I didn’t like it.
“In Her Shoes” is a character study of two sisters. Cameron Diaz plays Maggie, a wild child slut who gets through life on her good looks. Whenever she gets in over her head, her down-to-earth sister Rose (Toni Collette) saves her and protects her.
The intention is clear. We are to feel sympathy for Rose because she has to keep putting her life on hold to take care of her troubled sister. And we are supposed to have sympathy for Maggie because she’s never been allowed to live her life. Oh, and she can’t read. That’s a new one. Give novelist Jennifer Weiner and screenwriter Susannah Grant an Oscar right now for originality.
But instead of feeling any sympathy for these characters, I felt nothing but content, exasperation and disgust. They’re dreadful people. As the wild child, Diaz an insufferable sleazebag – stealing from friends and family and sleeping with anything that moves – and even charging her sister’s boyfriend $200 for sex. As the level-headed one, Collette is such a panty-waste that I couldn’t care if she lived or died. Rose was such an irritating co-dependent that she didn’t realize that there wasn’t anything wrong with Maggie that a good chainsaw wouldn’t fix.
In fact, I was so repulsed by these pigs of characters that if they physically manifested near me, I couldn’t have resisted the urge to hurl them into a tank filled with man-eating sharks. Sure, they go through some growth (what I might classify as cancerous character growth) throughout the film. However, their redeeming qualities are so vacuous that even in the end, I only could slightly resist the urge to hurl them into a shark tank.
“In Her Shoes” is directed by Curtis Hanson, who gave us the masterpiece “L.A. Confidential.” However, he seems to have left his good sense and talent for storytelling at home for this picture.
Another unforgivable sin this film commits is that it stays around long past its welcome. It’s bad enough to have to sit through ninety minutes of cow dung. But there’s no excuse for the movie’s 130-minute running time. Even when it seems that the stories and characters are all wrapped up, we move onto another plot line or play out a scene beyond any interest.
“In Her Shoes” is meant to be a serious foray into acting for the normally goofy Cameron Diaz. However, it showcases her more as an aging beauty who is going to wake up one morning with the face of Joan Rivers… before the nose jobs. Diaz joins a long list of past-their-prime celebrities who are presented as gorgeous women but are really not – people like Jennifer Aniston and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Seeing Diaz stumble around this film talking like a sailor and acting like a whore reminds me of that cinematic abortion “The Sweetest Thing.” For crying out loud, how many stinkers does a Hollywood actress have to make before they realize that she’s no longer a draw? Few remember “The Sweetest Thing” because it didn’t make a single red cent, yet the studio had paid an unknown writer a million bucks for the pathetic screenplay. They had slapped Diaz onto the movie in hopes of her stardom boosting its popularity. Well, we weren’t fooled on that one, and hopefully we won’t be fooled on this one.
Rumor has it that Toni Collette gained 20 pounds for the role to play the chubby sister. (She subsequently lost the weight for the second half of the film.) I have to side with Janeane Garofalo on this issue – what’s the big deal when an actress puts on weight for a part? Since when is that hard to do? For crying out loud, give me a part, and I’ll slap on an extra 50 to 100 pounds if you like. That’s not daring, just lazy.
And wasn’t Collette supposed to leave film for a non-existent music career? Please spare us another “In Her Shoes” or “Connie & Carla” and get out of the business now!