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The Independent Culture

Frame by frame, Anand Tucker's adaptation of the Steve Martin novella has a coolness and elegance rarely seen among British film-makers. The look of this LA love story bears comparison to Wong Kar-Wai, and in the title role Claire Danes is as gracefully shot (and dressed) as Scarlett Johansson was by Sofia Coppola in Lost in Translation.

The first half of the movie, when shy department store assistant Mirabelle (Danes) is wooed by loveable lummox Jason Schwartzman, rolls along with gusto. Indeed, Schwartzman looks certain to steal the picture when Martin's affluent lothario enters the scene and, by degrees, drains off most of the comic energy and goodwill it has won. It's a sad misjudgement on Martin's part: his character isn't just emotionally guarded - he's a creep and a control freak, and one can hardly bear to see poor Mirabelle fall for his act.

Tucker handles the intractable material well, and secures fine performances from both Danes and Schwartzman, but there's a black hole where a romantic hero should be.