18 February 2009

Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic

When ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ asks its friend, “how do I look?”, said faithfully kooky, wisecracking BFF will say without hesitation, “oh hun, you look like a visual orgasm of delectable, sensual and frivolous femininity doing what you do best: reassuring despondent women everywhere that shopping need not be a myth in these tricky economic times.” It’s at this point that you can only wish ‘…Shopaholic’ had friends like Carrie, Samantha and Miranda (and that’s coming from an ardent SATC hater) to straight-talk it out of such delusions. Without any reservation or doubt, ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ is utter claptrap, its painful attempts to encompass every chick-flick cliché resulting in an almost misogynistic portrait of women at their worst.

Following the astounding successes of the SATC film and ‘Mamma Mia’, it’s no surprise that cheesemonger Jerry Bruckheimer decided to capitalise on the rise of female cinema-going by developing author Sophie Kinsella’s bestselling tales of one woman and her credit card into the ultimate chick-flick. However, not only does he capitalise thereon, but unashamedly steals the trademarks of iconic female characters who paved the way for this dungheap of a film – the seemingly ditsy girl outsmarting a seasoned businessman à la ‘Legally Blonde’? Check. Bridget Jones-style waggling of peachy bottom in the charming Grant/Firth-style boss’ face? Right on cue. And cat-fighting over dresses in a scene straight out of ‘Friends’? They’re all there, along with nods to the infinitely more intelligent ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ that are as unsubtle as some of Becky’s hideously garish outfits. Although she can’t be blamed for their physical similarities, Isla Fisher’s portrayal of Rebecca Bloomwood is an unsophisticated bastardization of Amy Adams’ excellent turn as naive Giselle in Disney’s ‘Enchanted’ – stumbling slapstick into every glass door, and simpering nauseatingly as an excuse for not knowing simple answers.

The film is an insult to women on so many levels – it paints its lead as hysterically and blindly addicted to consumerism without thought for the consequences, downtrodden and unmotivated in the face of male rejection, and despite any supposed university education, as having a distinct lack of social or professional skills. The female protagonists shriek and fawn sickeningly at every designer label, and despite a flimsy moral to the story it’s indubitable that Bruckheimer’s release schedule couldn’t have been much more distastefully timed. Despite its attempts to paint shopping as a divine occupation, ‘…Shopaholic’ is little more than a Pandora’s Box of hideous vices and ridiculous stereotypes.


1 comment:

Oliver said...

I've not seen the film but I'm guessing you were being fairly generous with your rating!