In Her Shoes Review

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by Casimir Harlow Apr 1, 2006 at 12:00 AM

    In Her Shoes Review
    There is always another chick-flick lurking on the corner to attack you. It's understandable considering the volume of more male-orientated action-movies out there and that is why I can also see how they get away with using the same story time and again. I mean, almost every aspect of human relationships (whether between friends, siblings, or lovers) has been done before and done to death and yet each new production tries to go one better. So when I encountered In Her Shoes, the trailer instantly made me yawn and wonder when they were going to give up. So, does the film live up to these low expectations or does it truly inject something fresh into the ever-burgeoning genre?

    Maggie is a menace. Not just to everybody around her but actually to herself as well. She is one of the least responsible, most whimsical, carefree and frivolous girls on the planet. Sure she looks attractive, which is why she generally just uses her body to get from place to place, but with no goal in life other than the next drink and the next flirt, she is on the road to disaster. Rose, on the other hand, is a solid, upstanding lawyer who can be relied on and who knows exactly where she is going in life. She may be a little less glamorous, but she is a decent, reliable sort. You would never think that they could be sisters, but they are.

    One day Maggie's antics land her homeless and she is forced to move in with Rose, which is not a particularly comfortable situation for either of them. However, Maggie's behaviour does not get any better and eventually she pushes Rose too far and loses the last, best friend she ever had. Will Maggie change her irresponsible behaviour? Will Rose ever forgive her? In Her Shoes is just about the most predictable movie in the world but, somehow, it manages to still be quite watchable and enjoyable over its whole two-hour duration (which is quite long for this kind of production).

    Most of the charm is from the two main leads: Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz. Despite the fact that you find the most sympathy with Collette's reliable Rose, it is Diaz's Maggie who is the deeper character - she seems like just a flaky flirty loser but she is actually a melting pot of buried emotions and resentment because of the broken family that both siblings evolved from. There may be no excuse for Maggie to behave so recklessly, but there is a reason why she does. The two actresses are perfectly cast in their requisite roles (although Toni Collette whining about being fat was a little implausible) and carry it off well, bringing to this warm and occasionally moving drama (with plenty of comedy thrown into the mix) a sense of reality for their two thirtysomething roles.

    Through the introduction of a third important character - perhaps the one surprise you will get from the movie - played by the wonderful Shirley Maclaine, the drama is actually a little more thoughtful than your average 'chick flick' and graduates to a higher, more generally watchable level. In Her Shoes was never going to win any awards for originality, but still manages to provide just the right combination of laughs, tear-jerking and warm moments, along with likeable, despicable and understandable character traits - most of which we can all relate to in one way or another - so as to keep you entertained for its two-hour runtime. It may not breathe new life into the archetypal 'chick flick' but it is still a perfectly likeable little movie that wields commendable performances from the two female leads. Sure, it may well be biased slightly towards female audiences but it comes recommended nonetheless and there's certainly plenty for couples to enjoy here.

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