Shopgirl (2005)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman
Extras: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurette

Those of you who have observed the comical side of Steve Martin get a rare chance to witness his more emotional and creative side, with the film adaptation of his own novella, "Shopgirl". The film is not quite what I pictured myself to be in for, since I did not read the original publication. "Shopgirl" possesses a good storyline with decent performances that make for a commendable and overall entertaining experience.

Working at quite possibly one of the most uneventful jobs on the planet, Mirabelle (Claire Danes) runs the glove and accessory counter at a Los Angeles area department store. Aspiring to be an artist and dealing with personal depression, Mirabelle's life takes an interesting turn as she soon meets two interesting, yet completely different men. Jeremy Kraft (Jason Schwartzmam) is a struggling musician who frequents the same Laundromat as Mirabelle, one day strikes up a conversation with her that leads to friendship and casual sex. Shortly after, Mirabelle is paid a visit at her place of work by wealthy divorcee Ray Porter (Steve Martin) who invites her out to dinner. Accepting the invitation from Ray, the two begin a "May-December" romance. As Ray is quite a bit older than Mirabelle, he makes it clear that he doesn't want a serious relationship, something which Mirabelle has a hard time accepting. Well written by Steve Martin, I discovered "Shopgirl" to be a concentrated story with a few truly quirky moments that lighten a somewhat somber atmosphere.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases "Shopgirl" to DVD in a terrific presentation. Good color saturation delivers naturally appearing flesh tones throughout the various blue and yellow filters that are used to control mood within the film. The rich deep black level provides good image detail, while maintaining even shadow delineation. There is nothing in the form of dust particles or problems associated with compression as "Shopgirl" provides a generally pleasing overall presentation.

Subtle yet suitable, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack produces a good presentation with a nice even balance that remains focused on the front three channels. Since this is mostly a dialogue driven film I am pleased to report that the vocals remain natural in reproduction without any distortion.

A full length audio commentary from director Anand Tucker is one of the nice additions that compliment this DVD release of "Shopgirl". Two deleted scenes and a short featurette titled "Evolution of a Novella: The Making of Shopgirl" are both worth a viewing and complete the special features section.

If you are thinking that "Shopgirl" might fulfill your desire in seeing a warm romantic film that does not raise an eyebrow or two, you would be wrong. Although slow moving and slightly dark at times, "Shopgirl" is a touchingly real story with its share of tenderness and heart.