Although frequently formulaic and often slick, IN HER SHOES nevertheless features some strong performances, emotional conflicts, and heartwarming reconciliations. The sisters' conflicts are deeply rooted, of course. They interact primarily by way of snapless one-liners, as when Rose suggests Maggie look for a job ("There's a whole world of commerce out there that has nothing to do with sex") or Maggie uncleverly deplores her sister's fashion sensibility ("1994 called; it wants its hair scrunchy back"). The sisters' most prominent shared interest is shoes, as objects of desire and signs of emotional stability. Rose has a closet full of them, expensive, neatly arranged and mostly un-worn ("Shoes always fit," she says, "I treat myself when I feel bad"). But where Rose preserves shoes, Maggie wants to wear them; as soon as Rose leaves for work, Maggie going through her closet, picking the most stiletto heels and outrageous boots. When Maggie commits a predictable act of (sexual) betrayal, Rose demands that she leave.
Their road to reunion thus takes a detour, as Maggie moves to Florida, where the girls' proud, cynical, and engaging grandmother lives in a retirement community. Following initial tensions between, Maggie and Ella come to appreciate their similarities (stubbornness, insecurity posing as arrogance, anger refitted as independence). Maggie's swimwear makes her a big hit among the men at poolside, and her ability to shop for others -- framed as a career-worthy talent -- wins favor with the ladies. The film eventually allows the three women to come together, better understanding themselves in relation to one another and their shared sensibilities.