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Confessions of a Shopaholic

Directed by P.J. Hogan

Screenplay by Tim Firth, Tracey Jackson

Starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.

Rated PG

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Movies make the worst first dates — unless they invoke insightful discussion. This Valentine’s Day, I decided to watch Confessions of a Shopaholic ­— on a first date — because, well, I wasn’t expecting much from the date nor the movie. Instead, I had a great first date, at the expense of not taking the movie seriously.

The movie is based on the first book in a series written by Madeline Wickman, who writes under the pseudonym Sophie Kinsella. The storyline follows a shopaholic, who ironically gives financial advice. Her shopping problems are so bad that she basically lives a lie (with thousands of dollars in debt). Because of this, she almost loses everything, including love.

While, for the most part, I enjoyed the book, I hated the main character ­— the shopaholic Becky Bloomwood. The movie made Becky, played by Australian actress Isla Fisher, much more sympathetic to the audience: she really learned her lesson. This is different from the novel, where her life just happened to magically work out. Her main love interest, Luke Brandon, played by Hugh Dancy, was not nearly as dreamy as he was in the novel.

Unlike most chick flicks, the creators attempted to make this a bit more serious. Granted this is probably because a movie on shopping, during an economic recession, would seem insensitive. Thus, they portrayed the consequences of spending above one’s means. While the movie was full of high-end, designer brands, it emphasized the main character’s reliance on these secular goods. However, it was all a bit too cheery for how serious a problem shopping can be. Even when she hit rock bottom, it was not even close to depressing. If anything, it was just a very cliché attempt to bring about a serious message.

Due to the genre of the film, it’s hard to be taken seriously. The attempts to look serious just came off as even more cliché. As my date put it, “you have to remember the genre,” which is what I’m considering in my rating. The movie was completely predictable. While there were a few funny moments, for the most part, I whispered back and forth with my date about what designer bag she was carrying, which goes against the message completely.

As it’s an economic recession, do yourself a favor and save your money. Have a relationship with something other than a credit card. After all, I’m giving you this message for free. Instead, you could hear it from the film for $10.75.