I had yesterday off for the holiday, and decided to go see "Confessions of a Shopaholic." Reading the other reviews online, it is very possible that I am the only person on the internet who liked this movie. I should note that I have not read the books (yet!).
"Shopaholic" stars Isla ("Eye-lah") Fisher as 25-year-old Rebecca Bloomwood, a journalist with an actual shopping addiction and tons of credit card debt that she seems to ride like a wave. While trying to get her toe in the door at the ultra-exclusive Alete magazine, she lands a gig at Successful Savings magazine, where she applies the lessons learned from her fiscally-responsible parents, and is an overnight hit (with readers and hunky boss played by Hugh Dancy).
The non-spoiler: Debt is the enemy. As her 12 credit cards reach their limits and with minimal funds to pay them off (and still dashing into Prada before a Shopaholics Anonymous meeting), Becky is more and more frantic. She's dodging the "evil" debt-collector, lying to her friends and love interest, and generally is a mess.
Critics have been quick to over-look the negative portrayal of debt, focusing only on the shopping scenes that (rightly so) are grossly over-indulgent. One critic goes so far as to say it is "Probably the most ill-timed and appalling insulting movie in recent memory." Wow, ok. I actually found Shopaholic brilliantly timed--a young woman who very quickly has to learn to live within her means, pay off debt, cut up her credit cards, and value her relationships with her family and friends more than objects. I think there are a lot of young (and not-so-young) people who are coming to the same revelation right now. Yes, it's told in a fun and colorful (and light-hearted) way. Yes, not all the details are maybe exactly accurate to the magazine-publishing world. Yes, the romance is a little contrived. But it's a movie, and a comedy at that. But it certainly serves to communicate an important topic at the same time. Debt is bad. Shopping can get out of control and things are not your friends. Carrie Bradshaw could learn a few lessons from this movie.*
And the fashion. It's classic Patricia Field (from Sex and the City). Over the top, every color possible, every designer possible, all in the same outfit. Now, I don't take her styling to be a guidebook to my next shopping trip. But we could all use a dose of color now and then. And she's truly a costume designer--these are the clothes of a shopaholic. But they certainly are eyecandy, especially in some of the closet scenes. (I'm drooling over that dresser too). Plus, this movie totally makes me want to grow out my red hair and curl, curl, curl! Isla has the exact shade of auburn I've always dreamed of...
Basically, if you like fluffy, fun, girly movies and love clothes, and are maybe in a little too much credit card debt, you'll like this movie. If you'd prefer an exposay on the corrupt financial underbelly, watch CNN and save yourself $7.
Did anyone else see it? What did you think? And wasn't that white skirt and jacket she wore in Miami to die for?
*Hypocrite alert. That same reviewer who called Shopaholic "insulting" gave SATC one of her top reviews. Hmm, a movie with tons of shopping, marrying a rich man who will give her the giant closet of her dreams, and much more sex. Personally, I liked both movies.
*UPDATE* If you're interested in "Shopaholic" more as a catalog, then shop Becky's clothes at Bluefly.