In Her Shoes

| November 5, 2005

It took me a month to go see one of the best movies of the year. When I saw the preview of In Her Shoes, I thought it would be a great rental. A little throw-away comedy that would be cute. And from the warnings (trailers), I knew I would get a great shot of Cameron Diaz’s bikini clad bottom. But the schedule worked, so we went in to see it in the theater.
And there is only one word to describe it: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
Diaz (Charlie’s Angels) stars as Maggie Feller, the irresponsible, party-hearty, jobs-are-for-people-who-can’t-get-men-to-buy-them-drinks sister of Rose Feller (Toni Collette), who is lawyer with her head on straight, but with different, less apparent problems. Their mother died 22 years ago, and it has been just the two sisters and the father ever since. Only Dad has remarried a shrew of a woman, so the definition of family is even more limited.
The film opens when Maggie has hit yet another bottom because of drinking and living the good life. But when she sleeps with Rose’s new boyfriend, the defecation really hits the fan and she is left with no place to live. She soon discovers that the girls’ grandmother, long thought dead, is alive and well and living in Florida.
Maggie, needing someone new to sponge off of, hits the road for Florida and discovers a family member that will, in the end, send her in the right direction.
The acting in this movie makes it something special. Collette (About a Boy, The Last Shot) is touching as the nose-to-the-grindstone sister, who instead of drinking like her sister lets her frustrations out by buying shoes. She finds love in this movie –Mark Feuerstein (The West Wing, Good Morning Miami) plays Simon Stein — and we cry for their happiness.
Shirley MacLaine (Bewitched, Terms of Endearment, The Evening Star) is the grandmother we all wish we could have had, and her character is made all the more wonderful by a perfect performance by Francine Beers (Keeping the Faith, Law and Order) as her friend, Mrs. Lefkowitz. Beers and MacLaine could have had an entire movie between the two of them.
Candice Azzara (Catch Me If You Can) plays the girls’ step mom, Sydelle Feller, and you hate her — which is needed. She is not a miserable person, but just annoying enough to make her performance excellent. Ken Howard (Crossing Jordan, Dreamer) plays Michael Feller, the father. He is just loving and flawed enough to make the final scenes with his ex-mother in law (MacLaine) get the tissue ready.
This little film, directed by Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential, 8 Mile) and written by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, 28 Days, Ever After, Party of Five), is cute, touching, funny, sad, and practically perfect in every way. It goes onto my Top 10 list for 2005.

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