Unlike many adaptations of novels, Curtis Hanson's In Her Shoes feels like the filmmakers retained almost everything that happened in the book. The film is loaded with incidents, events, and behavior. In lesser hands, the sheer amount of all those storytelling materials would sink most films; however, Hanson has proven to be one of the best workmanlike directors of his time. He can work, and work well, in any genre because he understands both how to tell a story and how to put a film together that is always entertaining to watch. As he does with each of his films, Hanson gets superb work from his actors. Cameron Diaz surprises by playing a character almost wholly unsympathetic for much of the film. Her willingness to play a selfish, self-loathing, good-time girl goes against her endearing image, allowing her to improve as an actor without sacrificing an ounce of her sex appeal. Toni Collette believably plays both halves of her ambivalence toward Diaz's character, always tempered by her character's straight-laced, in-control role as the big sister. She gets the best moment in the film when she discovers an act of betrayal committed by her sister and hits her with an insult so perfect that the audience may laugh until a split second later when they realize how devastating a remark it is. Shirley MacLaine shines as the long-lost grandmother of the sisters. While MacLaine has a history of playing larger than life, this time around she plays a very grounded older woman who knows what she is, knows what she has done, and has the strength to try to make things right. Like the two main characters, In Her Shoes is flawed but certainly appealing.
by Perry Seibert review