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The movie starts out with a random trendy girl walking into Saks Fifth Avenue, the camera then shows the bustling perfume counter, a woman being fitted for an evening gown, and finally Mirabelle (Claire Danes), in her mid-twenties, behind the fancy glove counter with a blank expression on her face. It seems that rarely anyone ever comes to this section of Saks. She is mostly staring into space, sometimes with her elbows propped against the glass when the manager isn't looking.
Mirabelle drives home in LA traffic and walks up to her apartment where she leaves out food for her cat Sylvia. She takes a picture of herself naked on the bed for a future self portrait. She goes to bed.
The next scene she is folding clothes in a Laundromat and Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman) is leaning against the dryers. Hes all disheveled and messy looking, with a slouch and greasy hair falling into his face, him and Mirabelle look about the same age. He calls out to her saying Hey, you need change?, she says No thanks, Im alright. He asks her what she does and she says she works at Saks. He nods then asks her, Saks Fifth Avenue? She looks at him like hes dumb. Then he starts talking about how he is an artist and Mirabelle gets slightly excited and asks him what he does. She says that she draws. He says he does stenciling for Rocket Dog Amplifiers and shows her the different fonts he has drawn on his hand and says, Im not a bad guy by the way, and runs back to his dryer. Mirabelle smiles and says, I know, you didnt have to say that. Jeremy checks the dryer and asks if he could borrow change from her because he ran out and his clothes are still damp. He also asks for her phone number and says, I will call you. I will.
Jeremy picks Mirabelle up from her house by honking on his horn several times. His car is a beat up old mess, pretty much like him. When she comes out he does not go to open the door for her and says, Ill get it next time, then proceeds to dump all the garbage that was in his passenger seat to the back to make room for Mirabelle. She gets in and says You look nice, Jeremy does not return the compliment. As they are driving off he says Get ready to have the time of your life and puts one hand out of the window because his signal lights dont work.
Mirabelle and Jeremy are on their date sitting in the middle of the bustling CityWalk in LA. Jeremy is fascinated by the neon lights outside the movie theater while Mirabelle is sitting there restless. She asks if they want to go in and he says no he just likes sitting and thinking- plus tickets are like $10. She suggests splitting it and he says ok, and can I borrow 2 bucks?
He drives her home and stands outside her door and asks for a goodnight kiss. She says What's the point. He starts walking away real slow and she calls him back and asks something like, are you the type of guy whos awful in the beginning, but when you really get to him, hes amazing? Jeremy says, yes, then no, then huh? He asks her to take down his number and asks if she has a pen and paper. They say goodnight without a goodnight kiss. She throws his number in the garbage.
Mirabelle is at work the next day in her usual bored state when an older man scares her out of her thoughts. It is Ray Porter (Steve Martin) and he wants to pick out a pair of gloves. He looks about 50 years old. She brings out 2 pairs- long black gloves or grey ones. He chooses the grey ones. She says theyre safe. He asks if she likes the black better. She does, he ends up buying the black. As hes walking away she notices hes wearing very nice, expensive shoes, which shows that he has both good taste and money.
On her way home she listens to a radio show host that talks about intimacy after sex. The afterglow of sex is what women crave more than the actual sex, but in order to feel the afterglow, one must have sex. There are different levels of being held after sex. One is the spoon position which is the best possible position to be held. The next is where the mans arms are wrapped around you, the third is when the man has his arm around you and maybe a leg, and the worst possible one is when you and the man are not touching.
Mirabelle is feeling lonely and digs Jeremys number out of the garbage bins outside. She calls him and they show that he has knocked the phone off the hook by accident. He continues watching TV in his messy home with his dirty socks propped on the coffee table. He does not know she is screaming his name into the phone to get his attention. Jeremy decides to call Mirabelle at that moment and dials her number. Mirabelle asks him if he knows what just happened. He doesnt. He asks if he can come over, she says yes. She asks him how long hes going to be and he says hes in the middle of a lot of things right now, so in 10 minutes.
Once Jeremy comes over he presents her with a greasy, translucent bag of fries as a gift. She takes them and they go into the bedroom. He is awkwardly zipping up and down his zipper on his hoodie and basically jumps on top of her and gives her a kiss. She asks if he has a condom and he reaches for it in his pocket which turns out to be a mint instead. He quickly eats it and asks if she has a plastic baggie, like a zip log bag or something he could use instead. She says hes got to go out and buy a condom then. He goes outside and asks her next door neighbor for one.
While they are having the most awkward sex in the world, Sylvia the cat jumps on the bed and starts boxing his balls with her paws. Afterwards they lay there separately, not touching. Then Jeremy jumps up and makes a speech about amplifiers and how his boss is not making the money he could be making. Mirabelle asks him why he doesnt do something about it and Jeremy pauses for a second and looks thoughtful, then goes huh?
Mirabelle receives a gift the next day from Ray Porter. They are the black evening gloves and a note that says Have dinner with me.
The next day Mirabelle is having lunch by herself when Lisa, the blonde perfume lady sits down and talks to her. They have seen each other around Saks but have never spoken. Lisa is the usual blonde haired, blue eyed gold digger nightmare and she gives Mirabelle some advice on how to handle men. She says to break dates and not make herself readily available. She also says to give fellatio as soon as possible and a lot of it, and pretend that you love it, then cut them off. She says after that the men are hooked. Mirabelle says she cant do those things because shes from Vermont.
The next day Ray Porter comes to her counter after Mirabelle is finishing with some Japanese clients, and once again she is startled by him. He knows she is not supposed to be having conversations at work so he gives her the time and place of the restaurant so they can talk more.
Mirabelle drives to the restaurant and she asks him how he found her. He said he lied to the store then called information. He says that she has an unusual last name so it was easy to find her. He says her name, Mirabelle Buttersfield, slowly, and you can tell Mirabelle is starting to like this guy already.
Jeremy calls and asks to come over and Mirabelle tells him no, because she is seeing someone and hangs up on him. Jeremy just stares off into space while hanging upside down from his couch.
Mirabelle and Ray Porter go on a couple more dates showing the sensuality between the two, how Ray is mesmerized by her body and how she is falling in love with him with every sexual encounter they have. He gives her a speech on how he is traveling a lot, how he doesnt want to be tied down, and that this relationship can not go anywhere.
Mirabelle is seen later talking to her friends about how he says he is traveling but that he is trying to cut down for her, and that the relationship might be going somewhere. Basically the speech was of no use because the two do not understand each other in what they want from the relationship.
Ray asks her to go to New York with him for some benefit and she agrees, ecstatic. They go to get a dress fitted at Armani and she turns to him and says this is the first time Ive ever gotten fitted for a dress. A day later she starts having an attack of some kind because she has stopped taking her anti-depressant pills. Ray takes her to the doctor and refills her prescription.
Ray then goes to dinner with another woman, has sex with her and writes it in a letter to give to Mirabelle because he wanted to be completely honest with her. She sobs and says that she cant go to New York with him anymore.
Mirabelle escapes to her parents house in Vermont and sits there quietly eating with them. They barely talk to each other. Ray calls and asks her to come to New York again. She looks at her mother eating and decides to go.
A couple of weeks go by and everything between Ray and Mirabelle seem fine. Ray pays off her student loans which had accumulated to $39,000 and she is grateful.
At work Mirabelle walks by Lisa in perfume with a new dress on from Ray Porter. Lisa recognizes it is Prada and knows the man Mirabelle is dating has money, and wants to intervene. She calls a girlfriend up who works at the store and asks the name of the man Mirabelle was with.
Mirabelle and Ray decide to go to Art Walk which showcases the work of artists. Rays plane got delayed so he said he will meet Mirabelle there. Mirabelle is parking her car when a guy calls out to her. It is Jeremy, transformed in a white suit with hair pulled back and clean shaven, and she asks what happened to him. Jeremy has been on a long journey with a rock band, supplying free amp repair as long as they agree to recommend his companys amplifiers. He has also been listening to self help and healing cds, including cds about relationships and how to be a better person. He is like an entirely different person, courteous and polite. They walk into the gallery together.
Lisa is there and assumes Jeremy is Ray Porter, she seduces him and takes him back to her place. Meanwhile Mirabelle finds Ray and they leave the party together. Back at Lisas house, she keeps calling Jeremy by the name of Ray, and Jeremy thinks this is some kind of new lingo he missed out on while he was traveling. He goes along with it and screams out Ray as well. The next morning Jeremy calls Lisa and asks how she is doing. She doesnt remember him and asks him if his name is Ray Porter. Finally Jeremy goes, ok whos Ray Porter?
He is about to leave on a business trip while Mirabelle brings him his suitcase when he asks her to go to New York with him again because he wants to buy an apartment that has 3 bedrooms just in case he meets someone and has kids. There is silence and Mirabelle sits down to collect herself. Ray realizes the mistake he made in saying that and she asks him, Why dont you love me? and Are you just biding your time with me? then she says, I can either hurt now, or hurt later, and says now, I guess, and gets up and walks away.
Mirabelle gets her life together. She quits her job at Saks and starts a new job as a receptionist at an art gallery. It is an equally mundane job but closer to the field she wants to work in. Jeremy comes back into her life by sending her a package with a single red rose and an invitation to dinner as well. They start dating and the new, more considerate and self aware Jeremy, treats her tenderly. He loves her with his whole heart and Mirabelle gives equal portions of herself to him in return. The difference between Rays love and his is that Jeremys is unwavering and true.
Mirabelle ends up being one of the artists in next years Art Walk. They are standing in front of her pictures which are of black backgrounds and her self portrait suspended in the middle. She sees Ray Porter and they go outside to talk. She gives him one of her portraits because she made it while they were dating. Ray realizes that he did in fact, love her. He cant understand why he misses someone he held at arms length so that once she left he wouldnt miss her. He realizes the hurt he put her through and that basically, it was life. She walks away from him and into Jeremys arms.
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