I know that Steve Martin wrote both the novella and the screenplay for "Shopgirl," and obviously he is playing the role of Ray Porter, but I think that having him doing the voiceover for the omnisicent narrator was a bit much. That is because we are inclined to think he is talking as Ray rather than as the author, and whiile I can make it work either way, it is something of a distraction to try and figure out which one is the right interepretation. Besides, this is a charming little of story and we should just be concentrating on the matter at hand.
I was going to say that "Shopgirl" was about a love triangle that not is not strictly true. Mirabelle Buttersfield (Claire Danes), is the title figure, working behind the glove counter at Saks Fifth Avenue and trying not to be bored out of her mind. One night at the laundromat she meets up with Jeremy Kraft (Jason Schwartzman), who is clearly a loser. But apparently he is better than nothing because she not only goes out with him but also sleeps with him, despite his revolting idea of birth control.
Then one day at the store she talks has a customer that she convinces to buy the black gloves and not the gray. She is then surprised to find the gloves and some flowers, along with an invitation to dinner, signed Ray Porter (Martin). Ray is old enough to be Mirabelle's father, but he has charm and money, not to mention restraint, and Mirabelle decides to see him instead of Jeremy, who goes out of town with a rock band to be a roadie and to spend time on the bus listening to self-help tapes.
There is really no surprise here, because you get a sense for the dynamic of these relationships and the fact that the characters are going to change for better or worse over the course of the film. There is also a point where we cut back and forth between Ray talking to his psychiatrist and Mirabelle talking to her girl friends, where our sympathies are settled by default rather than my inclination. Plus there is a grace note of regret at the end that I appreciated, along with the nice little joke played out on one of Mirabelle's friends, who turns out not to be that nice. The result is charming, with elements both sad and sweet, and a nice set of performacnes from the three principles.