"It's a Mess"
What You Need To Know:
The first part of this movie is looking for a story. It has a lot of plot holes and loose ends. It is infatuated with sexual activity. The second half of the movie is almost a different movie entirely. Shirley MacLaine becomes the grandmother who saves her granddaughters. There's very little sex, very little foul language, and a lot of rebuilding and reconciliation. Too bad viewers have to wade through the paganism, hedonism and obscene behavior in the first half to get to the second.
(H, B, Pa, LL, V, SS, N, AA, DD, MM) Confused humanist worldview, concluded with a reconciliation and Jewish wedding, frequently focusing on pursuing sex; at least 27 obscenities, nine profanities, with one particular scene where two sisters try to use the "V" word for a woman's private part as frequently as they can while mocking their stepmother, vomiting, several references to urinating, and many verbal references to sex; minor violence with woman getting thrown out of apartment; lots of sexual activity, with no intercourse shown, but with pieces of body parts entangled; lots of skimpy clothes, upper male nudity, provocative shots of protagonist, and underwear shots; alcohol use to get very vomiting drunk; smoking and references to drug use; and, lying, deception, theft, manipulation, revenge, and abuse.
IN HER SHOES is a mess. It is all over the map. It starts out infatuated with sex, moves on to condemn poor parenting, and ends up with a teary-eyed reconciliation. The last half of the movie, except for some loose plot ends, is pretty good, but the first half is sophomoric.
The story starts with Cameron Diaz’s character, Maggie, getting sex in a bathroom stall. Her drunken vomiting turns off her lover, who kicks her out. She wanders back home to her stepmother, who hates her and kicks her out. So, she goes to visit her plain jane sister, Rose.
Rose, meanwhile, is having a very rare event in her life, her own sexual affair with her superior at the law firm where she works. He is a hunk; she is more bovine in her appearance.
Maggie throws herself down on Rose’s couch. When the senior partner sees her the next morning, everyone knows that Rose is in trouble. The senior partner engineers for Rose to go to Chicago with him and then cancels at the last moment so that she has to go with the law firm geek. The audience realizes that Rose and the geek are perfect for each other, but Rose doesn’t realize it. When she returns, the senior partner is sleeping with Maggie. Rose kicks Maggie out of her apartment.
Searching for a home, Maggie finds out she has a grandmother in Florida at a retirement home, so she takes the train to Florida to fleece the unknowing grandmother, Ella, played by Shirley MacLaine. Maggie discovers that Ella was prevented from seeing her granddaughters by her son-in-law, Michael, when their mother died. Their mother was mentally unstable and took her own life after an intense argument with Michael. Ella helps Maggie to get out of her self-destructive behavior, and Maggie discovers she can do more in life than just sell her body. At this point, the movie turns into a story of rebuilding and reconciliation.
The first part of this movie is looking for a story. It has a lot of plot holes and loose ends. It is infatuated with the “V” word for a woman’s private part and with sexual activity. It features theft, drunkenness and a whole host of hedonistic pursuits, including Maggie stealing Rose’s boyfriend. The second half of the movie is almost a different movie entirely. Shirley MacLaine becomes the grandmother who saves her granddaughters. There’s very little sex, very little foul language, and a lot of rebuilding and reconciliation.
The first half is embarrassing and most of the audience absconded right after the screening rather than filling out screening forms. It is very dangerous to second-guess what went into making a movie like this. It appears, however, that somebody wanted to tell a good story, but then decided they needed to stoop to conquer by adding the beginning with raging paganism and hedonism. The movie is almost a lesson in how Hollywood can ruin a good plot. However, maybe they didn’t understand the latter half of the story and what made it so much better than the first half.
Most of the characters are forgettable, except for Shirley MacLaine. Whatever one thinks of her religion or her politics, she shows here once again that she can really act when given a meaty role. Too bad the director did not know how to get such a performance out of the other actors. Some of the dialogue is laughable, some is static, and some is genuinely profound. Go figure.