It’s rare to see a movie that has no redeeming qualities, but here it is in last year’s “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”
I can admit, with only a small amount of shame, that I’m a big fan of the books the movie is based on. Yes, they’re chick lit with a lot of the clichs of the format, but they’re fun and Sophie Kinsella has a good sense of humor and a light tough with both humorous and touching scenarios.
Unfortunately, none of that made it in to the movie.
Our heroine is Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher), the shopaholic in the title who has 12 credit cards and $20,000 worth of debt. She’s obsessed with clothes, and her dream is to work at a Vogue-like magazine, but she has to settle for Successful Savings, a struggling financial magazine.
She’s vastly unqualified for the gig, and is hired for some unknown reasons (seriously, I watched the whole thing and they never explain why she got the job). She struggles at first, but after her boss, Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy), gives her the push to write a unique (uniquely stupid) column, her fame (but not fortune) skyrockets. “Hilarity” ensues.
I know I’m being harsh here, but I really have trouble seeing something I liked made into such garbage. Yes, Rebecca loves shopping, but in the novels, she has an MBA. Business writing is a bad fit for her, but she’s not an idiot. A commonly used device is to make a character stupid in the hopes of getting a laugh, and it’s one I wish I could ban from television and movies. I can’t, and so I must suffer through movies like this one.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film so disconnected from reality as this one; I imagine even a struggling magazine looking for a fresh voice would hire someone who could write coherently about its subject matter. I don’t see how in any circle her column would gain her that amount of fame.
Couple those fatal flaws with her obnoxious friends and family and her blander-than-bland love interest, and I was ready to quit at the 20 minute mark.
I admire Fisher’s attempts to bring some of her charm to this impossible role, and while she tries her best, the foundation was too weak to save. She deserves a better role, and I hope she finds it soon and that I’ll never have to watch her in this type of role again.
Is that too much to wish for?
“Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
Written by Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth and Kayla Alpert
Directed by P.J. Hogan
Starring: Isla Fisher (Rebecca Bloomwood)
Hugh Dancy (Luke Brandon)