It is possible that words have escaped me in describing what a $hit fest this movie is. How bad is this film? It is so bad that by the middle of it I had already decided it made my top ten list (assuming I see ten movies I really hate) of worst films of 2009 – oh, let's go ahead and be honest, it is one of the worst films of the 21st century. It is like the producers of this film rolled in every chick flick cliché into one film and thought the audience would go for it. Damn and double damn, if they didn't hook me into buying a ticket to this crapacola…so please gentle reader, heed my warning.
First off, no one goes into a film with the title 'Confessions of a Shopaholic' and expects to be blown away by the insight of the main character, shown in most of the movie posters as a confused redhead wearing Crayon colored clothing. Yet, even by those low expectations, Rebecca Bloomwood, Isla Fisher (not to be confused with Amy Adams) is such a selfish idiot she makes Paris Hilton look as selfless as Mother Teresa and as intelligent as Albert Einstein. And you know what? None of that would bother me much if she didn't have the fuggliest wardrobe ever! Color me spastic must have been the theme for the costume designer for this film. Even the stupid bridesmaid dress that Fisher wears near the end seems like a subtle departure from the rest of the cesspool she wears throughout 'Confessions'. I mean if we are to believe that she has gone into debt because of her love of fashion at least make it semi-believable.
How sad is this? I knew who the costume designer was going to be before I even looked it up in the IMDB website – Patricia Field. Damn, that woman is so hit or miss. If you don't know who she is, let me clue you in, she is the lady responsible for all the fashions on 'Sex and the City' (both movie and TV show). She is currently dressing the characters on 'Ugly Betty'. Field is either 67 or 68 and dresses herself as if she is a fifteen year old girl who sits with the B social group in the school cafeteria, but desperately wants to sit at the A group table.
There are so many things wrong with this film that I don't even know where to begin. Besides bad fashion, the film itself seems to be a mishmash of ever successful chick flick from the last decade or so. Based on the 2000 British literary series, 'The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic' by Sophie Kinsella which morphed into the Americanized title 'Confessions of a Shopaholic', the movie appears to be all over the place. Since I haven't read any of the books I don't know how off the road this film went from its original source, all I can report as a fan of both chick lit and chick flicks is that I have seen every cliché in the story about 300+ times. Lest I forget, it even has clichés that haven't seen the light of day since the last generation of kids who listened to radio broadcasts – literally there is a scene where someone shouldn't open a stuffed closet.
Off the bat let me say that it is always a bad idea to take something as finely tuned as a successful chick lit and adapt to another culture. Yes, I know there are similarities to shopaholics worldwide, yet there are subtle differences and often plots of such books depend on readers identifying with elements of the main character. By making Bloomwood American the producers of this travesty (Yo, I'm talking to you Touchstone Pictures and Jerry 'What the hell are you doing producing a chick flick, Mr. Macho Dick Flick extraordinaire?' Bruckheimer) are operating at a disadvantage with the project is still in script form. So in the future boys, here's a hint, not everything has to be Americanized for an American audience to enjoy it. Think 'Bridgette Jones'.
Really, the only time 'Confessions' remotely works is when Bloomwood talks about shopping and why it makes her feel so giddy. Further, a bit of back story is added which is the only dimension this character receives throughout the film. I speculate that these elements were in the original book.
Divorcing 'Confessions' from the book in which it is based; I have to confess that there were too many notable supporting players with familiar faces. Okay, you ready? John Goodman, John Lithgow, Joan Cusack, Lynn Redgrave, Fred Armisen (he plays Obama in the SNL skits – Armisen you why are you killing me with this crap?) Wendy Malick, Julie Hagerty (remember her as the love interest in 'Airplane'?) and Kristin Scott Thomas as a poor woman version of Meryl Streep in 'The Devil Wears Prada'. Each character is annoying and each is given their own special scene. Hugh Dancy plays the love interest with nothing that distinguishes him as romantic or even heterosexual. Director, P. J. Hogan, who is also responsible for the worst Julia Roberts film ever 'My Best Friend's Wedding', is responsible for this fine mess.
The only inspiring bit about the whole movie were a few scenes with moving mannequins that in another film genre would have been damn scary.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this movie unless you have some shopaholic obsession with seeing bad films, if so, this film will stop your addiction pronto.
Westerfield © 2009