Shopgirl hits theaters

More realistic than the average love story, Shopgirl is one of the few romantic movies without a Cinderella ending.

Shopgirl tells the story of a young woman, Mirabelle, played by Claire Danes, whose search for love puts her on an emotional rollercoaster. Ray Porter, played by Steve Martin, is a 50-something detached divorc?e who finds himself overcome with Mirabelle?s simplistic beauty.

However, to complicate matters, Mirabelle is also courted by Ray?s polar opposite, Jeremy. Played by Jason Schwartzman, Jeremy is a rough and uncultured young man with no purpose in life until he is rejected by Mirabelle. Ray, who comes to love Mirabelle but can?t bring himself to show it, is eventually replaced in her life by Jeremy. The story begins with Mirabelle questioning, ?Why me?? and ends without ever answering.

While the movie originally sets itself up as a typical romantic comedy, it?s likely to surprise the average viewer. From artificial sex scenes, unrealistic plot twists, and random narration from Steve Martin, Shopgirl is not likely to be categorized as a typical love story. More true to life, its ending leaves the audience with the impression that Mirabelle finds love in the most unlikely place, while finding artistic success from a broken heart.

Steve Martin, who also co-produced the movie based on his novella, does not at first seem like the type of serious character who would play Ray as well as he does. However, after a few moments it becomes clear that his character is a reflection of himself. And while the other characters seem to mesh well into reality, too often there is a serious tone that can?t be overcome.

Jason Schwartzman seems to be the only comedic relief in the entire movie. A 17-year-old at heart stuck in a 20-something?s body, Schwartzman?s character, Jeremy, transforms from an uncultured teenager into a mature adult who finds himself through a series of self-help books on tape.

Without doting on Claire Danes? previous movies, her character, Mirabelle Buttersfield, takes her to new heights. Elegantly portrayed as a mildly depressed young woman, Claire Danes develops Mirabelle to mirror what many women want to define love as: sophistication meets money. Eventually Mirabelle realizes that her less-than-perfect love affair with Ray is going nowhere quickly. Her story of heartbreak is believable, and makes her character relatable.

Shopgirl is a rare movie in the romance genre, yet it?s still not impressive enough to leave you with a lasting memory. While it is well-produced, well-written, and not-so-well-matched, Shopgirl is a more modern and realistic view on what typical romance movies should be. Entertaining, and mildly humorous, it is not a movie for young lovers looking for a good laugh and a happy ending. Mature audiences, beware, however. A casual sense of humor is needed to fully enjoy the message of the story: ?That?s life.?