Confessions of a Shopaholic

shopaholic_image1Confessions of a Shopaholic, based on the Shopaholic series created by Sophie Kinsella, is that feel good, fluffy kind of film so it’s hard to be angry at the fact that I just sat through a predictable and unrealistic film without any real plot. I assume that’s supposed to be the charm of the movie with its animated mannequins and bright haute-couture but I wasn’t exactly ready for the ride through fantasyland when I sat into those cushy theater seats.

Part of the reason I’m so on the fence with this film, is the sheer absurdity of the storyline. Rebecca Bloomwood, played by the beautiful, engrossing and enchanting Isla Fisher, is that girl my parents always warned me to stay away from or her naive, fiscal irresponsibility might rub off on me. Put a credit card in the hands of a female who’s easily distracted by anything bright, shiny, lacy or luxurious and you’ve entered the danger zone. I can’t say Confessions isn’t timely. Compare the current fiscal crisis with Rebecca’s little $16,000 setback, and you basically have a 20something’s Guide to Screwing Up the Economy.

Rebecca is like a lot of people my age. We want everything now, and we’re willing to sell our left kidney to get it. If it fits into our idea of the perfect life, we need to have it no matter what. Of course, they are others like me, who don’t need the hottest dress, the newest designer bag or five-inch Manolos. My idea of a fairytale would be a shorter workweek so that I could travel more, but to each his own.

shopaholic_image2Luckily for our protagonist, she’s always in the right place at the right time. She loses her job at a magazine she hates, only to become the next big thing at a Money magazine that she may hate even more. The magazine happen to be run by a dreamy editor(Hugh Dancy),  a cross between the charisma of Hugh Grant and the subtle sexiness of Orlando Bloom. Her best friend, played by the pouty Krysten Ritter, has achieved her own fairytale in the shape of an impending wedding, but her buddy is too busy becoming the next IT columnist to notice her shopping addiction is hurting everyone around her, especially the ones who care about her the most.

The best part of the film is the endless commitment all the way from the actors to the director and down to the costume designer (Patricia Field). Even if I would never wear a Rebecca outfit, I appreciate the imagination that went into such a creation that epitomizes the kooky character. The director P.J. Hogan (My Best Friends Wedding) doesn’t spare a moment, filling the screen with fantasy and fun, flops and falls. And the actors, especially the smaller parts of the parents (Joan Cusack, John Goodman) and her addiction therapy group, dive face first into their out of this world characters. (They get the most laughs of course.)

I laughed out loud more than once, so you could say, overall, it was a success, but I think part of reason the film doesn’t appeal to me is because, in my mind, certain characters just don’t translate from the pages of a novel to the big screen. Imagine Rebecca like a Bridget Jones, which shouldn’t be to hard since the author is actually British and our heroine was actually born across the pond.

shopaholic_image3Rebecca and Bridget share one major thing, their neurosis are what endear them to us. The Bridget Jones’ Diary films were a riot because, as a woman, no matter how ridiculous the situation, you connected with her desires and her imperfections. Though I’m sure there are a million girls (and boys!) out there who have put their cards on ice only to damage their linoleum floors breaking it free whether for a pair of shoes or an XBOX 360, I know I’m not one of them. It was hard to take the film seriously as a romantic comedy whereas I felt Jones and her relationship woes could have fit into my life seamlessly, in spite of all the extra cheese.

Fortunately, Confessions doesn’t take itself to seriously either. Even though I could have saved my AMC gift certificate and rented this one on Blockbuster Online, there’s no way in hell I could walk away from such a cotton candy flick feeling angry. So good for you Confessions of a Shopaholic because you don’t want to make me angry. Just ask The Avengers movie. It’s not a pretty sight.

Check out Robin’s review here!

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