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When times are dull, the dull make films like Confessions of a Shopaholic

BY RACHAEL LANDER | FEBRUARY 16, 2009 7:50 AM

** out of *****

Hi, my name is Rachael, and I’m a shopaholic. What? Now they have shopaholics-anonymous meetings? Well, I don’t know about the existence of said groups in reality, but they are oddly present in the new flick Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Based on the book of the same name by Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic is exactly that, a series of confessions from a shopaholic. The story line is a dull, overused concept that doesn’t harbor any brilliant depth, nor does it have the power to evoke any viewer emotion.

Shopaholic follows Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) and her excursions through high-fashion in New York City. Rebecca can’t walk by a store without spending exponential amounts of money on items that, while fabulous, are not vital to her life. While any woman, especially those of us who spent Valentine’s Day with Dove Chocolate not attached to a man, understands the glory of some consumer gluttony, Rebecca’s urge to splurge is absolutely bat shit.

After being laid off from her job at an outdoors magazine, Rebecca scores work at a finance publication while on the hunt to work for a more couture-friendly periodical (sound familiar? Didn’t Anne Hathaway already make this movie?). She manages to rock the job with an anecdotal article involving … you guessed it, shopping.

In between her romps at the local Gucci and a trip to Miami to promote her successful column, Rebecca falls in love with her boss (sex-bomb Hugh Dancy) and then proceeds to tear her entire life apart because of more than $16,000 in designer clothing and accessory debt. It’s unfortunate, but she had it coming.

Between the talking mannequins … well, let’s just stop there. The talking statues took this movie from just plain uneventful to boring with unforeseen levels of creepiness. Thanks to these mannequins, Rebecca gets talked into (and out of) purchasing various expensive items. You know, if anyone other than Fisher claimed mannequins helped her make important life decisions, they’d be committed. I’m just saying …

And then there’s Rebecca’s parents. The characters are amusing but I can’t stomach the actors. Joan Cusack? She needs to crawl back to wherever the hell she came from. Not only is she the most obnoxious and annoying actor ever, but she has less talent than Paris Hilton’s dog Tinkerbell.
Cusack’s foil is John Goodman, whom I liked better when he was the nut married to Roseanne. Though unsightly Goodman does have a lot of heart, he should give some serious thought to retirement. At least he doesn’t harm viewers by being present in the flick, as Cusack does.

Confessions of a Shopaholic did have one major element that worked in its favor: the fashion. Patricia Field is the film’s costume designer, and she knows clothes like Rebecca knows debt. Field was the brains behind Carrie Bradshaw’s boundary-breaking outfits throughout the Sex and the City series as well as the movie. Although Field doesn’t give Rebecca quite the extreme looks she gave Carrie, they are certainly worthy of drooling over.

Overall, the actors in Shopaholic were pretty decent and even vaguely amusing at times (Cusack excluded, of course). But their talents weren’t enough to hold this remake of countless chick flicks afloat.


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