When the going gets tough, the tough go…shopping? In Henry Jaglom’s latest film Going Shopping, he explores the lives of women joined together by their common love of splurging on outfits. Holly G (Victoria Foyt) is a successful designer with her own boutique, and her life is a bowl of cherries until she finds out that she owes $40,000 in rent back payments. It’s Mother’s Day weekend and she has until Monday to get the money to the store landlord, or her shop is going belly up. Not exactly the type of holiday surprise she had in mind.
Why didn’t she know that she owed money? Well, it’s simple: She wasn’t paying the bills, her boyfriend Adam was in charge of that. A big slap in the face to feminists everywhere, Holly is a successful woman, due in big part to financial assistance she receives from men. In the beginning of the film, she tries on a very expensive, shiny watch with her boyfriend Adam (Bruce Davison), who happily buys it for her. The delight quickly fades with the news of imminent foreclosure, and their relationship naturally deteriorates. Holly has decided to move out of Adam’s home, and will bring her rebellious daughter Coco (Mae Whitman) to live in the storage room of the store temporarily. “It will be fun!” she chants unconvincingly, as her daughter pouts and whines.
Since her boyfriend is out of the picture and not continuing to support her financially (boo-hoo), Holly turns to other outlets for money. Her exuberant mother Winnie (Lee Grant) is dating a scheming twit, who is kind enough to introduce her to a loan shark. Holly is an upscale woman equipped with the latest fashions and pearl necklaces, so her interaction with someone practically mob-related is about as believable as it sounds. She goes around begging just about anyone she can encounter for money, even offering a business partnership to a woman in exchange for a $100,000 guarantee. After exhausting all possible alternatives, she thankfully never resorts to prostitution. Not of the sexual kind, anyway.
Going Shopping is bad on so many levels, it’s hard to count them all. For starters, none of the women in the film have any depth or purpose outside of their shopping binges. They are literally addicts, craving their next blouse the way a junkie craves a syringe. One woman comes in to find the perfect dress for a party to keep her boyfriend’s gaze from wandering, and her search results in a panic attack. Another cries because she has gone bankrupt, and is seeing a therapist to keep her away from further shopping debts. Holly, the ‘strong’ woman of the movie, can’t even pay her bills on her own because she was expecting her boyfriend to cover them. These women pathetic beyond all comprehension, and spending a couple of hours with them in a theater is nothing short of agony.
In addition to featuring shallow women who seem like they stumbled out of the worst episodes of "Melrose Place", Going Shopping’s bland storyline moves at the pace of cooled molasses. The adorably charming Rob Morrow (“Numb3rs”) is introduced as a potential love interest for Holly, but together they resemble a mismatched pair of socks. Zero chemistry. Family relationships are equally undeveloped and pointless, especially the forced interactions between Holly and her daughter Coco as they pass time sulking together.
This is a film that revels in its own irrelevance. Money is thrown around like confetti, shopping bags overflow like dirty diapers, and the girls break into shrieking fits more often than the front-row-hos at a concert for Clay Aiken. There is nothing worse than loathsome, shallow women with Visa cards, and Going Shopping is their anthem.