coas_movie_web.jpgIn the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, there is an article by one of my favorite movie reviewers called “Why I Love Chick Flicks and Why I Hate Them.” 

In the article, Lisa Schwarzbaum criticizes films like Sex and the City, the movie, and The Devil Wears Prada.  Apparently, these films celebrate high fashion more than finding true love, and Schwarzbaum thinks it’s all fluff. Supposedly, women aren’t that into fashion.  I totally beg to differ.

While I almost always agree with Schwarzbaum’s critique of films, I have to say that I prefer my chick flicks to be full of glamour and beautiful locales, and not so man-crazy, because otherwise it looks like we put men over everything else.  There are women who put men first and foremost in everything, but I’d like to think I’m not one of them.

I like fashion and I love shopping.  As a matter of fact, before I hit my credit limit, I was a shopaholic.  I wasn’t a label lover like Rebecca Bloomwood, the title character in Confessions of a Shopaholic, played by Isla Fisher, but I like my vibrant silks. 

Now maybe Schwarz-baum isn’t into clothes all that much, but I sure am.  I always find myself focusing on what a woman’s wearing, before I focus on a scene. Call me crazy, but I completely identified with Rebecca when I read the book of the same name written by Sophie Kinsella. 

Rebecca is like me and quite a few other women out there who just love pretty clothes.  I identified with Rebecca so much that I’ve even had
Rebecca moments, such as having my department store card declined, and having to put back that lovely chocolate brown Kathy Van Zeeland bag that would have gone with everything so nicely; and it was half off.

The storyline for Confessions is a combination of two of Kinsella’s books “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Shopaholic Takes Manhattan.”

Bloomwood works for a magazine that is about to be abolished, and is trying to get her dream job of working at Voguesque magazine Alette. She loses the job to a leggy blonde, but doesn’t lose hope.

In the meantime, she settles for a job at Successful Savings Magazine, which is ironic because she never saves anything, and spends all of her money on designer clothes and accessories.  She writes one really good article from the heart, and it turns into a phenomenon that lands her on TV.  But it all comes tumbling down when the creditor who is stalking her outs her on live TV.

Fisher as Rebecca is fun and a breath of fresh air.  She’s not annoyingly cute.  She’s just creative and stylish.  She’s a bit of a mess, but in a good way.  Most women are a mess.  We don’t always have it together, like we try to come off.  I like that Rebecca is so flawed that she’s perfect.

At first, I wasn’t sure I liked what screenwriters Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, and Kayla Alpert did with the script.  But factoring in the fact that it’s based on a combination of two books, I think the plot goes pretty well.  What I don’t like is how the script has a “now-that-she’s-found-her-man, her-problems-are-over” ending. 

All of a sudden, now that Rebecca has a man to love her, her shopping addiction has been curtailed.  Having a man doesn’t make everything better.  This ending also implies that women who are shopaholics are like this because they don’t have a man in their lives to love them.  This is fluff.  If you disagree, just watch an episode of Oprah or Dr. Phil concerning married couples on the brink of divorce because the wives have spending problems.

I absolutely loved four things about this film: Patricia Field’s clothing handiwork in every scene; Rebecca’s dad telling her, “If the American economy is billions in debt and still standing, so can you;” Rebecca auctioning off her designer duds to pay off her designer debt; and Rebecca going to Shopaholics Anonymous to help her with her habit.  These redeeming scenarios have partially saved this movie from its bad ending.

All in all, Confessions of a Shopaholic was a great way for me to spend my weekend, alone.  The romance was there, but wasn’t in my face. 

The fabulous clothes were there, and that was just right for me.