Written by Taylor Lunsford
What girl doesn’t love seeing beautiful clothes? And for most, it is impossible to resist buying beautiful clothes. However, for Rebecca Bloomwood, heroine of “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” shopping is not just something you do out of necessity or because you have a special occasion- it’s a way of life.
Rebecca, better known as Becky, would rather buy clothes than pay the rent. The closet of her small, New York apartment is literally ready to explode from the amount of clothing she’s crammed into it. Just like her brightly colored clothes, Becky pops from the screen in her own unique way.
On the surface, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is just about a silly girl who loves clothes who happens to fall in love. And to the cynics, that’s all it will ever be. But Becky is more than just a frivolous girl, more concerned with her clothes than anything else. Becky is a multi-faceted, vibrant, and vivacious character who every girl would want to be friends with.
As in every chick flick, there is a love-story. And, on par for every love story, there’s a screw-up and then a grand gesture of love, followed by the happily-ever-after. But Becky provides an interesting figure given our current economy. She gets herself into a horrendous amount of debt, but she also gets herself out of it. She teaches audiences that frugalness is a good thing, but it’s also ok to splurge within your limits.
Isla Fischer, a young, up and coming actress from Australia, brilliantly portrays Becky. She leads a cast of very quirky characters, including her leading man, Hugh Dancy, who plays Becky’s boss (and romantic interest), Luke Brandon. Fischer and Dancy create a rapport between their characters reminiscent of that between some of the greatest on-screen couples, such as Doris Day and Rock Hudson or Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Not to say that the acting is quite on par with these Hollywood greats, but there is a special chemistry between the two that works.
Most movie patrons won’t realize that Becky Bloomwood and her friends are the creations of Sophie Kinsella, Britain’s answer to Meg Cabot. “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is the first book in the five book series that Kinsella wrote over the course of seven years, 2000-2007. Unlike her cinematic counterpart, the literary Becky is an offbeat British journalist who falls for communications tycoon, Luke.
The actual character transition from book to screen was almost effortless. Becky is just as quirky and trips her way through life always managing to land on her feet, albeit with many bumps and bruises along the way. The story transition, however, left much to be desired.
The change of Becky’s interactions made for a cute movie, but staying truer to the book would have given the movie much more depth and substance. In the end, the result is the same: Becky is a stronger, wiser character, who gets the guy and lives to shop another day (which she does in four wonderful sequels). I guess the real question comes down to: was the movie good? The simple answer is yes.
As sophomore Lizzie Brister said, “Shopaholic was the cheesiest and most entertaining chick-flick I’ve seen in a long time. Not only was it a veritable kaleidoscope of delightfully over-the-top fashion, but the quirky characters and satisfying conclusion added a bit of depth that made the film worth the price of a ticket, and perhaps even another before it goes out of theaters.”
I would agree with Lizzie on all points, however, I would add in that it was a good movie that didn’t quite reach its full potential. As is the universally acknowledged truth: the book was better than the movie.
I can’t in good conscience recommend seeing the movie without also recommending that you read the books as well. They are a delightful, summery read that will make you feel good inside and keep you laughing with every page turn.
However, the movie is just as delightful and is a wonderful source of escapism that we need more of given our current economic situation. If you need to be cheered up, go see it.