Note: This review was contributed by new Cinematical Feature Writer James Rocchi.
Directed by Curtis Hanson, In Her Shoes is already being tagged – and dismissed – as a ‘chick flick,’ centering around the relationship between sisters Maggie (Cameron Diaz) and Rose (Toni Collette) Feller as they both enter very different phases in their very different lives. Maggie’s party-hearty, unreliable ways have made her a couch-surfing blight on her relations, while Rose’s workaholic legal career is complicating itself in the form of an ill-advised romance with a senior partner. Strained and striving Rose tries to get Maggie out into the world and off her couch, telling Maggie that there are, in fact, life options out there "… where people make money without seducing people.” Maggie shoots back with an acid tongue that darts from between well-shaped lips: “Obviously, or you’d starve.”
A lot of films – in fact, a lot of pop culture – confuse femininity with sainthood; In Her Shoes, adapted from Jennifer Wiener’s novel by Erin Brockovich’s Susannah Grant, doesn’t make that mistaken connection. As we watch Rose and Maggie seethe and scrap, we gradually get a sense of where they’ve come from: Their childhood was defined by an unstable mom and a weary, beleaguered dad (Ken Howard) who couldn’t cope. When Maggie and Rose’s feud moves to a whole new level of combat that takes place between the sheets, the twosome split; Rose winds up finding slacker freedom as a dog walker and in romance with another of her old co-workers, Simon (Mark Feuerstein). Maggie finds a stash of letters in her dad’s house that lead to the grandmother she hasn’t talked to in years, Ella (Shirley MacLaine).