Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37

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Critic Reviews

  1. A film of wisdom, emotional subtlety and power.
  2. A quiet, glistening love story - or not-quite-love story - adapted from Martin's novella of the same name, Shopgirl is such an atypical Hollywood affair that it's almost startling.
  3. 88
    A tender and perceptive film.
  4. 88
    Like Truffaut's heaviest work, it's less interested in what brings people together than in what keeps them apart, and it achieves a painful truth you won't find in dating comedies.
  5. 80
    Elegant and exquisitely tailored.
  6. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    This is a special film whose delicate tone ranges from tender to astringent, with occasional side trips into sweet.
  7. Without the luminous Danes in the title role, Shopgirl would have the flair of an ordinary sales clerk.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Where "Elizabethtown" pretends to have the meaning of life, Shopgirl hones in on a few telling details, then allows audiences to fill in the rest.
  9. Martin's script offers plenty of opportunities, but Martin the actor never takes advantage of them.
  10. 75
    This is a smart, adult romance that rarely panders to clichés, and gives up the heady bliss of most such movies in favor of something bittersweet.
  11. 75
    Even the film's missteps (the score, by Barrington Pheloung, is cringe-inducing) can't stop this meditation on love -- Martin calls it "Jane Austen for the twenty-first century" -- from melting into heartbreak.
  12. Whether intentionally or not, Martin has given us something truly spooky: A full-fledged portrait of a hollow man.
  13. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    It's a minimalist almost-love story told with epic flourishes.
  14. But the best of the story is that there isn't much--as such. A slice of living is put before us. Some things happen. That's all.
  15. Displaying some fine performances -- including a lovely one by Claire Danes and a lively one by Jason Schwartzman -- the elegantly appointed Shopgirl certainly has the goods but it ultimately fails to make the sale.
  16. Danes gives a marvelously quiet, poignant performance.
  17. 70
    "Hilary And Jackie" director Anand Tucker establishes and maintains an appropriately delicate tone, apart from the presence of cartoonish, jarring man-eater Bridgette Wilson, who seems to have wandered in from a much cruder comedy.
  18. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    There's something refreshing about a film set in Los Angeles that gets its L.A.-ness right -- the difference in vibe between Silver Lake and the Hollywood Hills, or the types of people at CityWalk versus Saks. It is that sense of specificity, both geographic and emotional, that gives Shopgirl its pull.
  19. It's smart, spare, elegant and understated.
  20. 67
    It's a movie, finally, that feels longer than its exquisitely brief source material, which is a crime of sorts.
  21. In their way, Mirabelle and Ray are the deracinated West Coast equivalents of a Woody Allen couple.
  22. On the page Shopgirl was a small but fine Chekhovian thing, coasting along on Martin's omniscient narration and witty prose...The movie version locates roughly half of what worked in the novella.
  23. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Still manages to be a Steve Martin vanity project in ways that are fairly creepy.
  24. 63
    The film ultimately lets Mirabelle down and leaves the viewer dissatisfied. A "Lost in Translation" drained of its wryly observed humor, Shopgirl is worth a browse. But it isn't always easy to buy.
  25. One of the most schizoid films in recent memory. It opens with crystalline originality, a shimmering comedy with meticulous timing and sharply drawn characters. Then it careens carelessly into syrup. How could he (Martin) not have noticed?
  26. 60
    It's enjoyable and visually impressive, but this is a slender trifle of a film, one which charms you as you're watching it and then is all too quickly forgotten.
  27. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Martin hits all the right notes while subtly conveying both the appealing sophistication and the purposeful reserve of Ray. But he cannot entirely avoid being overshadowed by Dane's endearingly vulnerable, emotionally multifaceted and fearlessly open performance.
  28. 60
    Unfolds as a series of slightly disjointed vignettes, padded with redundant voiceover and an oppressively histrionic score.
  29. Without the saving grace of comedy, Martin's natural abrasiveness is off-putting, and he just doesn't have the stuff of a romantic lead.
  30. A glum meditation on isolation and romantic malaise.
  31. You keep expecting Shopgirl to get funny or sad or poignant; it never does. It just starts, then it's over.
  32. 50
    Where the book was preciously and carefully crafted, the movie just feels precious.
  33. Danes' smart, fun, radiant and very attractive Mirabelle actually undermines the premise of the book
  34. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    In any case, the best performance is by Bridgette Wilson-Sampras as the conniving but peppy slut at the perfume counter. Her big scene--farcical, filthy, surprising--is also the best in the movie. Otherwise, Shopgirl is sadly vacuous, with a sadly vacuous center.
  35. 40
    A romantic comedy with precious little romance and even less comedy.
  36. The willowy Danes' rich, melancholy characterization is sown in a barren field of snippy attitude and too-cool posturing, and the film's disingenuous air of bittersweet chic becomes deeply tiresome long before it's over.
  37. 30
    There's so little sexual chemistry between the actors in this film that it seems like a kind of accomplishment. I've seen shows on C-SPAN that were hotter than this.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 42
  2. Negative: 8 out of 42
  1. BenH.
    Jul 30, 2006
    Horrible movie. It was slow, pointless, and boring. How many times do I need to see Claire Dane's character shave her legs in this Horrible movie. It was slow, pointless, and boring. How many times do I need to see Claire Dane's character shave her legs in this movie? I was confused watching the movie and I am still confused how anyone in their right mind could have enjoyed it. Wow. Honestly, I can say this is the worst movie I have ever seen in my whole life. Avoid it all costs. I still can't even believe I wasted my time on this crap. Full Review »
  2. Apr 12, 2016
    It's fascinating to see Steve Martin show off his dramatic chops - it ain't half bad either. SHOPGIRL is smart and clever; however, not alwaysIt's fascinating to see Steve Martin show off his dramatic chops - it ain't half bad either. SHOPGIRL is smart and clever; however, not always as romantic as it hopes to be. Full Review »
  3. Jun 6, 2014
    Unusually sweet movie about lonely people adrift in LA. Also a proof that a “romantic” comedy does not have to be yet another boringUnusually sweet movie about lonely people adrift in LA. Also a proof that a “romantic” comedy does not have to be yet another boring chick-flick. Mirabelle is a girl, working at the gloves counter of a department store. She does not have much to do, since gloves are not much in demand. In her spare time she draws in Edward Hopper’s style.

    At the laundry, she meets James, a young aimless slob. They have an awkward date and sex, mostly due to lack of social and emotional intelligence than to personal flaws.

    Then Mirabelle starts to be “courted” by Ray, an elderly, rich gentleman, equally unable to connect emotionally, but very much skilled in old-fashioned gallantry. The two embark in a sexual relationship which in Ray’s mind will never turn into “commitment”.

    Although Mirabelle enjoys the obvious perks of dating a rich, kind man, she starts longing for emotional fulfillment. In the meantime James leaves LA to be a roadie of some sort and while travelling with a rock band, he gets some self-help books about relationships.

    When James comes back to town, sort of mature by his experience, the Mirabelle/Ray relation has reached stalemate. Reluctant to give up on Ray, Mirabelle fells into a depression, probably triggered by her unspoken needs. Eventually Ray breaks it off, setting in motion a more assertive Mirabelle, who finally decides to quit her boring job.

    The two meet some time after the break-up. Mirabelle is working in an art gallery showing some of her work. She and James are now happily together, while Ray is visiting the exhibition with another “girlfriend” of some sort. Mirabelle and Ray have a short private conversation during which he admits of having loved her, but that does not matter anymore to Mirabelle.

    I really enjoyed the simple storyline and the interpretation of the three main characters.
    Full Review »