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Meet Rebecca Bloomwood: perky, confident, broke and basically an obnoxious monster. Confessions of a Shopaholic is a romantic comedy about Rebecca that is masquerading as a story about a woman becoming independent. She marches through this movie, wearing the most God-awful “fashion” you’ve ever seen, spouting clichés and endorsing superficiality. She does it with panache and the blame for the monstrosity of the character can hardly be placed on the shoulders of Isla Fisher, the woman playing her. My finger is pointing directly at the writer of this pile ‘o chick flick. It is almost as if the author of the book behind the movie, Sophie Kinsella, was sitting at home thinking, what do all straight women love? Shopping, men, boisterous best friends and great father figures, lets write a book about just those things.
The movie opens with a mini-monologue from our protagonist as she walks down the streets of New York as if they were a catwalk. She claims that “A man will never love you or treat you as well as a store.” She then continues, “If a man doesn’t fit, you can’t exchange him.” So the intended metaphor is set, Rebecca has a relationship with clothing and not much else. Clothing is Rebecca’s significant other. Luckily, the woman actually does have goals. She is a journalist that aspires to work at a fashion magazine. So ok, she is actually somewhat of an independent woman, which is something of an upgrade from many chick flicks of the past.
She and Hugh Dancy meet-cute before he interviews her. He is the editor of a savings magazine, she is a potential columnist. After some shenanigans, she gets set up with a column and apparently blows the minds of the entire world with her first piece. She and Dancy go on a whirlwind trip to Miami and fall for one another. And in true rom-com fashion, they get separated due to a mistake and then stop talking for a few weeks only to… well, you can guess.
The script is the biggest problem with the entire film, well, that and the beyond gaudy wardrobe. And by script, I mean everything that comes out of Fisher’s mouth. She gets a dreamy, dazed look on her face and you just know that she's about to spout something about how great shopping is. When asked “Why do you shop?” she responds, “Because when I shop, the world gets better.” Technically, with the terrible clothes she's parading around in, the world is getting a little worse when she shops. She claims that “Underwear is a basic human right,” after it comes out that she's spent over $200 on Marc Jacobs underwear. This statement is indicative of the level of cluelessness this character lives on. The fact that the things she considers basic rights are underwear just shows us how privileged and materialistic she really is. It isn’t just that Rebecca is annoying, she's also one dimensional and horribly predictable.
Rebecca is so naïve, skinny, and bouncy that she is almost the exact concoction of woman that a pragmatic, funny, real-life women absolutely hate. Luckily for Rebecca, she has Isla Fisher to make her at least look cute. Fisher jumps right in to the crazy physical comedy demanded by the script. She slams into glass doors, dances dorkily, and runs all over the place in those high heels. These moments just show that the blame of the badness of the movie doesn’t rest on Fisher. Fisher plays Rebecca just exactly how this character is supposed to be played, annoyingly naïve to the point of stupidity. Don’t blame Fisher, she was just written that way.
Maybe I’m just bitter and broke, but rubbing all of this shopping in the face of an audience surely on a budget, an audience that just spent their hard earned cash to watch her, seems wrong. This movie is clearly supposed to be good clean fun. But, it just isn’t that enjoyable. From the beginning of the film, it is easy to tell that the movie is going to abide by the clichés of the typical romantic comedy. And the plot does just that, hardly even straying from the worn formula enough to give Rebecca a respectable job. The script certainly isn’t helping the movie out, as Rebecca and her cohorts spout clichés echoed throughout the terrain of romantic comedies of the past. However, the tiny Fisher has her moments, as she flits around as the leading lady. Confessions of a Shopaholic is as empty and clueless of its own image as its protagonist. From the awful clothing to the trite script, this movie is not worth any amount of money you might have to pay to see it.
The advertisement of this version of the film as being a “2-Disc DVD” is pretty much a sham, as one of the discs is merely a digital copy of the film. The disc includes four deleted scenes, one blooper reel and a music video. The special features just scream “made for teenagers,” especially the music video. Plus, the lack of an audio commentary from director PJ Hogan automatically downgrades the bonus features into fluff-only territory.
The deleted scenes are some of the most thorough and long that I have ever seen for such a craptacular movie. There is one in which Rebecca obsesses over the green scarf that the movie is built around. Then there is an extremely long scene in which Rebecca gets a job at a clothing store and then tries to steal a pair of zebra-print pants out of the hands of a shopper and gets fired. The scene is actually fairly cute, but the pants are heinous. The next scene is just an extended scene in which an older woman grabs Hugh Dancy and kisses him. Hey, with those baby blues, who wouldn’t? The last scene is a shortie that has a man asking “can I be the man in the plaid shirt?” All in all, the scenes just reminded me of the torturous nature of the film. Nothing new here.
If you’ve ever seen a blooper reel, then you know what this blooper reel looks like. The only place where a blooper reel seems original and hilarious is one for an animated flick, all other blooper reels just come off as indulgent. This one is no different. With very little Joan Cusack and not enough of the boisterous best friend (Krysten Ritter), these bloopers are all Fisher. Yes, she is lovely to look at, but these bloopers just aren’t.
The final “bonus” feature is the music video by Shantelle featuring Akon. Now, I’m not super into R&B, so this music video wouldn’t have sung for me even if it had been mind blowing. Alas, it certainly wasn’t. Picture every music video for a song featured in a movie and you’ve got the basic concept for this one. It’s all about re-creating the basics of the movie while laying scenes from the movie over parts of the screen. It’s so cliché it hurts a little.
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