By Morgan Hodder.
If you avoid thinking too hard about it, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” seems like a movie perfect for our time. It uses a lot of words I hear on the news every day, like debt and credit. It’s the story of someone with absolutely no impulse control, no understanding of credit, and no qualms about weaving elaborate and outlandish lies to run away from a $1,600 mountain of debt. Oh yeah, and she’s a financial guru who is taking the country by storm. In light of the recent economic downturn, it’s easy to imagine her as a symbol for Bush era recklessness. For this reason, it’s recommended that you just leave your brain in the car.
Adapted from a very successful novel series by Sophie Kinsella, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” depicts the financial misadventures of Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher). Bloomwood’s character seems to be modeled somewhat from Elle Woods of “Legally Blonde”. Do not be fooled, she is no Elle Woods. Bloomwood is a character without moral fiber or integrity and never comes close to earning any of the lucky breaks she gets throughout the movie. Much like the chick from “Twilight,” Kinsella seems to have created a world in which Bloomwood is actually the main character — perpetually the center of attention and inexplicably loved by all.
The movie opens with a brief reflection into the past of our capricious main character. Growing up with frugal parents, (Joan Cusack and John Goodman) Rebecca lusted after expensive and extravagant things. The source of all Bloomwood’s problems is a childish notion, perpetuated into adulthood, that buying things on credit is like getting stuff for free.
Mannequins, like sirens of consumerism, seem to hypnotize her into a strange, almost scary craving for designer brands that looks a lot like a junkie on the prowl for a fix. One scarf in particular catches her eye, despite the fact that she’s already deep in debt, lying to debt collectors, unemployed, and on her way to a job interview. The mannequin-wielding the scarf makes supernatural solicitations to Bloomwood, saying that if she doesn’t buy it, she’ll be just like her mother – as if to suggest that fiscal responsibility plays the antagonistic role in this frightfully confused comedy.
Early in the movie, the audience is still prone to excusing of our heroine’s irrationality as whimsy. It says shopaholic right in the title, I expected her to have a problem. But when one of her numerous credit cards is declined, she sets out to scam someone out of $20. Bloomwood pushes her way unapologetically to the front of a hotdog line and desperately promises to buy all the man’s hotdogs for 20 dollars cash back. That’s like an extra 300 bucks for a $120 scarf. When an impatient custumer waiting in line gives her 20 bucks to get out of the way, Bloomwood makes up a lie about her dying aunt to excuse her behavior. At this point it no longer seems cute, our protagonist is kind of insane.
After this grotesque display, Bloomwood finds she’s too late and the highly desired position at Alette fashion magazine went to her leggy nemesis, Alicia Billington (Leslie Bibb.) Bloomwood gets a tip about an opening at a financial magazine that could be an
By Morgan Hodder.