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IN HER SHOES

SYNOPSIS:
Two sisters, Maggie (Cameron Diaz), a gorgeous wannabe actress and party girl, the other a dedicated lawyer at a big firm, Rose (Toni Collette) - seem to have nothing in common, except a love of sexy shoes and the same shoe size. When Maggie goes too far with her brattish behaviour (like screwing Rose's potential boyfriend who is also a partner in her law firm), they have a bust up in capital letters and Maggie, rejected from Rose's apartment, heads to Florida to find their long lost grandma, Ella (Shirley MacLaine), at an 'active seniors' retirement home. Here, family secrets and decent character traits are discovered, as back home Rose drops out to walk dogs and find a new self: herself. In the process, she also discovers that she isn't the ugly duckling she imagined, when Simon (Mark Feuerstein) comes along.

Review by Louise Keller:
If the shoe fits....With its sparkling performances and sentiment about the love between two sisters intact, In Her Shoes is intelligent and absorbing. Cameron Diaz is a breath of fresh air as Maggie, the leggy pretty one with alluring lingerie who works to live, while Toni Collette's Rose lives to work and wears her intelligence as though it is her only attribute. When Maggie looks in the mirror she sees dumb; Rose sees an unattractive fat girl. Neither girl feels good about herself. Each resents the other and they clash. It's not until Rose catches Maggie with her boyfriend that both girls are desperate enough to find a new life.

Curtis Hanson approaches this story about sibling rivalry and self worth with sharpness and vulnerability, as Maggie and Rose realise how important is their bond and the past they share. We know exactly where the story is heading when Rose opens the apartment door to Maggie's work colleague and boyfriend wearing nothing but a shirt and a little pair of knickers. From conservatively dressed lawyer to carefree dogwalker, Rose discovers there is more to life than work, and Maggie acquires confidence in the unlikely surroundings of a Florida retirement village under the shrewd, perceptive eye of her sprightly grandmother (Shirley MacLaine, marvellous) and a blind, retired English professor. It's the professor that allows Maggie to work through her dyslexia as she reads to him, and it's clear that the fact he spoke to his handsome doctor grandson about her, speaks volumes. For lovers of Muriel's Wedding, there's a flash of nostalgia.... but you will have to see the movie to know more.

In Her Shoes is warm and funny as we get sucked into the lives of these two individuals who are so different, but care enormously for each other. Conveniently their shoe size is the same and there's no doubt Imelda Marcos would be rightly impressed by Rose's staggering collection of stunning stilettos tucked away in her wardrobe.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Curtis Hanson is a brand name we trust in cinema, with his track record firm from L.A. Confidential and Wonder Boys alone. So how is Hanson going to deliver a chick flick with the romantic comedy elements that Hollywood has honed over decades of time and millions of dollars in any way that his core audience will respect? The answer is : pretty well. For example, there is the glasses rule. This rule has it in Hollywood rom-coms that if you have a central female character who wears glasses in the 'before' mode, she must lose them (surreptitiously) by the 'after' mode. Hanson defies this, although there is a stretch in the middle when I thought he had succumbed and sold out. He hadn't and hasn't.

The other rule that this film breaks is that the conflicts and impediments in the way of the romance must not be complex. But even before that rule, the film breaks the Hollywood rules by coupling the romantic comedy to a family tragedy, which in turn drives the central conflict between the sisters. This conflict, as it turns out, is based on mutual incriminations that spring from not so much a character difference as from feelings of guilt and/or inadequacy.

All the same, the film does adhere to the general principles of the genre and promises a good mix of tears and laughter, with Shirly MacLaine doing a great job as Ella, Cameron Diaz in top form as the ditzy blonde, and Toni Collette reworking certain aspects of her Muriel. Indeed, at the end, you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching Muriel's Kosher Wedding, except for the running joke about a bar called the Jamaican Jerk Hut - and the closing song, I Got You Babe, sung by Jamaica's Richard Jah Ace, in a subversion of the Sonny Bono song. This is a payoff for a joke in the script, and also underlines the subversion Hanson brings to the genre.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

IN HER SHOES (M)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Feuerstein, Brooke Smith, Francine Beers, Richard Burgi, Ken Howard

PRODUCER: Lisa Ellzey, Carol Fenelon, Curtis Hanson, Ridley Scott

DIRECTOR: Curtis Hanson

SCRIPT: Susannah Grant (novel by Jennifer Weiner)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Terry Stacey

EDITOR: Lisa Zeno Churgin, Craig Kitson

MUSIC: Mark Isham

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Davis

RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 13, 2005







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