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GOING SHOPPING
U.S. Release Date: September 30, 2005
Distributor: Rainbow Releasing
Director: Henry Jaglom
Running Time: 1 hour and 46 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (brief, strong language)

Tarts Put Shopping Movie Out of Business
by Scott Holleran

Somebody ought to write a part for actress Lee Grant, who adds spice to almost every character, from In the Heat of the Night's widow to the judge in Defending Your Life. However, when Miss Grant gets to Going Shopping as a deranged grandmother, she sinks beneath her talents. Writer and director Henry Jaglom's tale of a multi-generational retail family is as much fun as a picked-over garage sale.

A gimmicky fake documentary approach puts countless shallow women in front of the camera, breaking the wall and getting on one's nerves over something as benign as buying a dress. These bawdy broads are such a gangly bunch of gold diggers—whoring themselves for a nice wristwatch—that you almost hope Andrew Dice Clay shows up to make it an even match.

Instead, we get a women's clothing shop owner named Holly G (Jaglom's partner Victoria Foyt) and her nutcase of a family, which includes mother (Miss Grant) and daughter (Mae Whitman). Soaking in it with the whiniest women this side of a cash register the day after Christmas, they are halfway over the cuckoo's nest. Smothered by dry testimonials from the sort of women who wear too much make-up and glitz and sandwiched between the family scenes, a semi-sweet love story (using the underemployed Rob Morrow) yearns to breathe.

Middle-aged Holly has dumped her boyfriend (Bruce Davison, working with what's there, which isn't much) because she discovered he was cooking the books, and she is months behind on the bills. Holly's landlord, Pamela Bellwood (Claudia Blaisdel on Dynasty), has run out of patience with her deadbeat tenant, and this sends Holly into a conniption fit.

To come up with the rent, she wages an emergency Mother's Day sale—as enthralling as it sounds—but not before Holly tussles with a loan shark, her sales staff and her daughter over a body piercing. Continuity problems and plot holes are numerous in this dawdling fire sale. Along for the putt-putt are Miss Grant—whose moxie makes a dreadful character funnier than she is—as a granny with a secret and the unrelated Jennifer Grant (Cary Grant's and Dyan Cannon's kid) in a thankless role.

Buried under these crumpled sales slips are a few tame lines about the desire to shop, but most are dead on arrival or pathological and none of them are humorous. Neither, unfortunately for Lee Grant and other acting victims, is Going Shopping.


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