This may very well be my last review for Pajiba, folks. I think I may need to hang up the keyboard. See: Confessions of a Shopaholic has opened my eyes. It has given me untold insight into the female psyche. And I’ve come to the conclusion, sadly, that I’m a failure as a husband. Mrs. Pajiba-hyphenate hasn’t actually voiced it yet, but Shopaholic has clued me in. She’s clearly not happy. If Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is any indication — and there’s no reason to think she’s not; this movie has the Jerry Bruckheimer romantic-comedy seal of approval — then I’m not treating her right. She deserves happiness, and clearly the only way I can offer her that is switching professions. I need a larger salary, an ability to buy her what makes her happy: Gucci boots. Prada bags. Something called a Burberry (is that some sort of fashionable mobile device?). I’m going to need to fall back on the law degree, goddamnit. Our credit card limits only afford us Internet sale items from some place called Garnett Hill, and to be truly happy, my wife needs to spend untold hours in a well-lit boutique shop in Manhattan. It’s the least I can do for her on Valentine’s Day. Unless she’s wearing designer lingerie, I’m afraid that she’ll never be truly fulfilled. Oh, Bruckheimer: This news has cut me to the quick.
Here’s my swan song:
Rebecca Bloomwood shops too much. She’s run up $16,000 in credit card debt (ha! What’s that, like, a semester of college? Give me a break, lady. Call me when your debt hits $80,000, and then we’ll talk). She can’t help it, though. The only thing that brings her true happiness is the feel of a new bag, useless-in-the-winter gloves, or uncomfortable shoes. Unfortunately, that need to buy has gotten her in trouble with a debt collector, one who constantly calls her, shows up at her house, and bugs her at work. To add to Rebecca’s woes, the magazine she works at has been shuttered. But that’s OK. Her dream is to work for a high-fashion magazine. To get there, she takes a job with financial magazine in the same corporate family that she got through sheer drunken luck (see, powers of tequila) and a fabricated resume. Once there, she inadvertently strikes a chord with readers by writing a piece using clothing purchases as a metaphor for something or another to do with finance. She’s an instant hit!
While at the financial magazine, she also develops a keen fondness for her editor, Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy), a man who forsook his family fortune to self-make himself. Naturally. There are obstacles, however. Chief among them is the fact that Rebecca is a fraud. And while that will buy you disgrace, unemployment, and shame in the real world, in the world of Sophia Kinsella, that’s the sort of thing that will get you a man.
Aside from the career epiphany that Confessions of a Shopaholic brought to me, there is little else redeeming about the film. It’s bright colors and a shotgun blast to the head. It’s dull. It’s long. It’s painfully out of sync with the current economic climate. There are only three genuine seconds in the entire film, and that comes in a small line delivered by John Goodman, who can shit 64 pound turds more appealing that Shopaholic. Although, miraculously — and as bad as Shopaholic is — Isla Fisher somehow comes out of it unscathed. She’s frothy and likable and truly a great comedic talent, if only she’d had the right material. She has a more pleasant, brighter presence than all of the rainbows that Katherine Heigl aspires to murder. She’s the only thing in Shopaholic that kept me from folding myself backwards in my theater seat until my neck broke.
So, if you truly care about your sweetheart on this Valentine’s Day weekend, don’t take her to Confessions of a Shopaholic. There are only two possible scenarios, and they’re both bad: Either she’ll hate it and your date will be a bu(s)t, or worse: She’ll actually like it, and you’ll lose complete respect for her. As for me, It think I’ll go scrape my name off the Internet before any my potential employers try to Google me. Or: I could just change my name to Hugh and adopt an English accent. Man: That works in every other romantic comedy!
Hugh Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives in London with his posh sweaters and calls a vagina a fanny. You can send him an email or leave a comment below
Confessions of a Shopaholic / Hugh Rowles
Film | February 13, 2009 | Comments ()