Cheery 'Shopaholic' follows classic chick-flick formula

March 25, 2010
“Confessions of a Shopaholic” is, to put it simply, the quintessential chick-flick movie. However, that doesn’t mean it’s in any way a bad chick flick. In fact, it combines all of the best parts of our favorite romantic comedies (think “Sex and the City” ’s fashion and every chick-flick worth watching’s uber girly soundtrack) to make a pretty comical and very watchable film. If you were a fan of “The Devil Wears Prada”, “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and the like, chances are that you’ll enjoy this film too; on the other hand, if you’re looking for a complex plot or something relatively serious, you’d probably be better off meandering on over to see “Doubt” in the next showing room.
Directed by “My Best Friend’s Wedding” ’s P. J. Hogan and based on British author Sophie Kinsella’s wildly popular novel, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” follows the life of Becky Bloomwood (Islya Fisher), a magazine journalist with an insatiable and hopeless addiction to – you guessed it – shopping. Everything that you’d expect to happen happens and most viewers will be able to guess the ending five minutes into the movie. The film begins by introducing us to Becky, who has accumulated a jaw-dropping and label-filled wardrobe – along with the credit card debt to prove it. Becky’s first step in recovery is to score her dream job working at Alette, the ultimate fashion magazine. When that falls through, she’s forced to work at the only magazine that will take her and write a column on – ironically – how to save and spend money wisely. Luckily, this magazine is also spearheaded by dreamy Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy), Becky’s romantic interest throughout the movie. Becky spends most of the film falling for Brandon, being followed by a persistent debt collector, and continuously failing to keep her fashion addiction under control – all while attempting to keep her personal debt a secret from co-workers and friends.
The film uses the same basic plotline as the book, but also deviates from Kinsella’s novel in some aspects. For example, the setting is moved from London to New York to Americanize the film. The scriptwriters also decided to combine the plots from the first two novels in the Shopaholic series, causing the storyline to feel a bit rushed, and to essentially dumb it down some, opting for more slapstick comedy and goofy lines. The producers also decided to tone down the inappropriateness found in the novel in order to get a PG rating. Though this change makes the film a bit more silly than the book, its suitability makes “Confessions of a Shopaholic” the type of movie that you can comfortably watch with the whole family (or the girls in your family, at least).
Thankfully, the film chose to not change much about the novel’s main character, Becky Bloomwood. Islya Fisher’s performance as Becky is both endearing and impressive for her first lead role. Her comedic timing even has critics like Ebert and Roger comparing her knack for slapstick to “I Love Lucy” ’s Lucille Ball. Fisher successfully pulls off the role of a compulsive shopper and even manages to let her character shine through all the film’s bright colors and over the top costumes (designed by Patricia Fields, the same costume designer from “Sex and the City” and “The Devil Wears Prada”).
“Confessions of a Shopaholic” was conceived before America’s recent recession and, director Hogan says, is made purely for entertainment. While the film can be seen as a cautionary tale for all those who have or will pay the price for reckless spending in this failing economy, the bright mood and silly feel of “Confessions” promises audiences nothing more than a simply fun and amusing experience.





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