Warning, contains some spoilers
Ads for In Her Shoes made it look fun, but it’s a family drama. It is not unlike Terms of Endearment but with less sturm and drang. Poised for a comedy, I instead saw an opening scene of a character retching in a toilet stall. There was a plotline of attempted rape that I didn’t want to behold. The movie’s opening scenes were slow and feeble, but it got better later. After hating the movie for being falsely advertised, I eventually got into and found it to be a moving family drama. It’s a strange bait and switch, because the audience for a romantic comedy would seem to be similar to that for a family drama. If you saw the ads you saw a lot of the sexy, funny, romantic comedy moments the film contains. There are more, but not a lot more. It’s basically family drama and some wit and comedy mixed in. The actors all do a good job. Shirley MacLaine turns in a restrained, dead on performance as an elderly relative. You get the feeling that her life experience came together perfectly with this part.
The director has a special fondness for Cameron Diaz’s but. It gets a lot of camera time. It is a great but. It’s enviable.
In Her Shoes is a good enough family drama that manages to be affecting. There are some nice touches. If you look at it, there are also things that are tired or don’t make sense. Most people who like this kind of movie could enjoy it anyway, at least now, with the crop of dogs we‘ve been having. I didn’t understand why they made Mark Feuerstein wear glasses and slicked back hair. He can look sexy, but that wasn‘t a good look for him. Maybe it has something to do with his character’s description in the book. I don’t understand how Toni Collette’s character can stand his character’s behavior in restaurants, let alone date him. The plot hinges on Collette’s character being overweight and feeling undeserving because of it. Specifically, she feels undeserving to wear the sexy high-heeled shoes she buys and puts in her closet. I’m not sure I buy that one, (thongs, yes–shoes, no). It comes from the book, obviously. It certainly provides the title and many of the plot mechanics. Toni Collette seems to be the go to girl when it comes to characters that are unfortunate or less than svelte. Can’t the movie industry find another actress who is capable of playing these parts? For one thing, even though she gained weight for the part, she still probably weighed less than the average American woman. For another, having slim actresses gain weight to play all fat parts in movies is the equivalent of having white actors wear blackface to play black characters. I am sick of it. There are good actors of size that need employment. Put them on screen.
I didn’t read the book that this movie was based on. I believe that since most people who watch this movie will not have read the book, reviewing it from their perspective is valid. People who have read the book may have a different take on the movie than I did.
What do you think of all these overweight characters being played by skinny actors who gain weight or wear fat suits? Can you name any talented actors of size that should get parts in movies?
Cerulean writes for Blogcritics. She is overweight and wears pretty clothes every damn day.