PUBLISHED: 11:01 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010
BACK in the 1980s, the arrival of a new Steve Martin film was a big event, something to be looked forward to. The wild and crazy guy star of films such as Roxanne and Dead Men Don t Wear Plaid was a leading light of cinema. Then it all went wrong - some
BACK in the 1980s, the arrival of a new Steve Martin film was a big event, something to be looked forward to. The 'wild and crazy guy' star of films such as Roxanne and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid was a leading light of cinema.
Then it all went wrong - some of his movies became seriously syrupy and sentimental while the comedy stopped being funny. For years now, Steve Martin movies have been something to avoid.
It is therefore a pleasant surprise to say that Shopgirl is something of a return to form.
Adapted from a novella by Martin himself, but directed by Anand Tucker, it is a poignant romance with added funny bits, starring Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman and, inevitably considering his reputation, Martin himself.
Danes is a shy Vermont girl who has moved to Los Angeles but life in the big city has become a drudge as she struggles to make friends and pay off her student debt while working in a department store.
She has a vague relationship with Schwartzman's scruffy, socially inept, slacker but it is Martin as a smitten computer millionaire who tries to sweep her off her feet.
It's all very classily made with Danes giving a very appealing performance. Schwartzman is good too and the only thing wrong with Martin is that, in a Woody Allen-style, he comes across as a little too old for the role, even if he is a millionaire.
It's not a classic film but Shopgirl is a sophisticated and highly watchable piece of entertainment.