Didn't you get the text P.J. Hogan? The 80's are over.
Comically gifted redhead Isla Fisher, won me over in movies like Wedding Crashers and Definitely, Maybe, but as shopaholic Rebecca Bloomwood, she falls flat... on her face. Confessions of a Shopaholic is a valentines day chick flick, based on the unapologetically girly Shopaholic novels by Sophie Kinsella. I read the first two books back in high school, and found them entertaining enough, especially because I was, and am, so into fashion. The books basically consist of a laundry list of designer items that Rebecca covets, and the continuous romantic back and forth with her handsome entrepreneur boss, Luke Brandon. Reading them wasn't exactly thought provoking or awe inspiring, but they made for a great alternative to Chem 101. When I heard they were making a movie, I assumed it would be a cute addition to the "chick" genre (like Bridget Jones' Diary) and figured I'd see it. Once I heard they'd cast Isla Fisher, I legitimately started to get excited. But any notions of greatness or even goodness I had for this movie, were bashed after seeing it on Sunday night.
Now, I know that things like editing and cinematography, are rarely romantic comedy's strong suits, but Shopaholic performs abominably in these categories. From the very beginning, the movie is hard to follow, darting in and out of scenes with poor, if any transitions, and leaving you confused and unsatisfied with cheap character intros. The movie continues in this vein, dragging you along and only becomes mildly entertaining for brief moments. Even the kiss/es (the crux of any romantic comedy) were cut off! You have maybe 2 moments of enjoyable film in there, and they are chopped. I rarely think to myself while watching a film, "wow this editing is bad," but that's pretty much all I could think.
So when the technical aspects are lacking, next you turn to characters, which have no real motivation, no three dimensionality, and border on unlikeable. Rebecca Bloomwood is essentially a self obsessed bad seed who shops to bury her feelings of inadequacy, but she doesn't even shop well. I think at best I liked one outfit from the film (and clothing is supposed to be the film's selling point. And her hair was a best an 80's music video, at worst a Malibu Barbie. Isla's usual flare for comedy and sweetness just didn't come through in this role. She was either too mean, or too blah. Hugh Dancy is cute, so he gets a free pass on that, but even his good looks and charming British accent barely escape the incessant drone of the film. It's as if the director said play him like Mr. Darcy, and then less than a quarter of the way in, he just gave up trying. So I guess it's no surprise that Isla Fisher as Rebecca comes off to audiences like she's just not that into him (like what I did there?). Had he been a purse in a store window, she would have bought him only because he was on sale, not because he's actually the perfect accessory for her. Rebecca's best friend and roommate Suze, played by Krysten Ritter (newest addition to the Gossip Girl spinoff), is completely nonsensical, and has no idea how humans act, or how to play drunk. There is a slew of other misguided character attempts, but I can't go on, it's too painful. I will say though that the one thing I found pretty hilarious was the wardrobe and make up decisions for debt collector, Derek Smeath. He was an exact replica of Bob's boss in The Incredibles.
Short and Sweet
Don't see this movie, unless it's on HBO and you have checked every other channel to make sure nothing better is on. It's boring, it's bland, and even the clothes are bad! And did I mention that there are talking CG mannequins? Apparently the director who brought us My Best Friend's Wedding and Muriel's Wedding can't pull off a movie that isn't matrimony themed. Someone get this man on Bride Wars. All I needed Shopaholic to be was an enjoyable chick flick, and it couldn't even do that.
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