In Her Shoes (2005) Directed by Curtis Hanson. With Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine.
The poster for In Her Shoes proclaims -‘from the director of L.A. Confidential‘ – as it teases a flirtatious Cameron Diaz and a cute little dog against the backdrop of a vast, walk-in shoe closet. It is at once confusing who, exactly, the poster is trying to sell to. Adapted for the screen by Susannah Grant, and based on an original novel by Jennifer Weiner, the film is a tale of two sisters whose lives took drastically different courses after the death of their mother. Rose (Collette) is a lawyer with a nice apartment and an impressive stash of Jimmy Choos. Maggie (Diaz) is a blonde-haired, sex-pot simpleton with an annoying sense of entitlement, not only to Rose’s shoe collection, but her men too.
By design, Curtis Hanson seems at pains to ensure his movie isn’t a cosy rom-com fit, even though it goes out of its way to appear so. Tonally, it veers off that beaten track, attempting to stage itself as a serious drama, but with all the ingredients you’d expect to see in a typical star vehicle. As it progresses to its third act, however, its veneer begins to crumble as the script devolves to slush and Diaz’s scrounging laggard routine gives way to tender-hearted, sweet sister.
Clocking in at a hefty 2hr 10min, there are times when you feel like you’re watching a Sex and the City marathon, especially when the series itself is invoked in one scene where the characters sit around laughing at an episode. Thankfully, Shirley MacLaine and a scene-stealing Francine Beers arrive halfway through to provide stability and smiles, as the warring sisters unearth past secrets and the movie gears down.
As quickly as it scores points, In Her Shoes loses them. Toni Collette is a down-to earth presence who compliments the attempt to steer the mood towards serious family drama, but it never quite seems sure-footed enough on its wobbly heels to have the conviction to do so, resulting in a sweet-hearted, albeit a half-hearted feeling end product. 2.5/5