Starring: Rob Lowe, Jennifer Grey, Élisabeth Vitali
Director: Tom Clegg
Running Time: 90 mins
If The Shoe Fits is an American film about a woman working as a lowly runner for a successful fashion stylist, but despite the two’s differences in status and style, they form a unique relationship after meeting on one fateful evening.
As the title alludes to, If The Shoe Fits is a modern retelling of the classic Cinderella story. Now, while I am an unapologetically huge lover of Cinderella – the very epitome of the fairytale – I really struggled to find anything to like about If The Shoe Fits, a messy, clumsy and frustratingly simplistic retelling with too little similarity to the original story, and nowhere near enough individual character.
Now, I have no problem with the idea of updating a classic story, or just putting a slightly different spin on it through a modern retelling. Great films like 10 Things I Hate About You (a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew) and a number of others make themselves out to be entirely independent films, only with parallels in the story structure and key twists.
If The Shoe Fits, on the other hand, often feels like a movie that tries so hard to be a full-on remake of Cinderella, but just couldn’t get the rights off Disney to use the names of any of the characters. It has a Prince Charming-esque love interest (Rob Lowe) who our Cinderella (Jennifer Grey) meets at a luxurious ball, in which Lowe is wearing a nearly identical outfit to what Charming wears in the Disney cartoon. It has a glistening shoe that transforms the fortunes of the young woman whenever she wears it. And it has a loony fairy godmother along for the ride tooo, although nowhere near as lovable as Disney’s incarnation.
And that’s just the thing. The reason why Cinderella is such a wonderful story and film is because it’s so lovable and charming, in a way that only a full-on fairytale can be. Bringing into the real, modern world takes a lot of the fun out of it, and it’s really difficult to take such a fantastical tale so seriously in that context, immediately making the film difficult to properly engage with throughout.
What’s worse is that the one thing that the film does try to change up about the original Cinderella formula actually makes the whole thing even worse. I won’t spoil it because it’s the only bit of surprise in the movie, but the fact is that the film’s main weakness is being a near carbon-copy remake of Cinderella, only that the one time it tries to be a little bolder and more different, it falls apart completely as well.
Overall, then, there really isn’t much to like about If The Shoe Fits. Its as cheesy and generic a romantic drama as can be, and with an unoriginal and very basic attempt at retelling the classic Cinderella story, it fails to ever fully engage or entertain, making for a dull and frankly irritating watch, made worse by its brief but very poor attempts to change things up, and that’s why I’m giving it a 4.0.