Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Confessions of a Shopaholic</strong> (2009)

(Netflix Streaming, December 2015) I’m sure there’s a good movie to be made about the horrors of shopping addiction, its cruel toll on finances and families, the spiralling self-destructiveness of its insidiousness… but Confessions of a Shopaholic certainly isn’t it.  Casting shopping addiction as a character quirk in a light-hearted and inconsequential romantic comedy, this tone-deaf 2009 film ended up being a paean to consumerism at a time when the United States suffered its worst economic crisis in years.  (The solution to the protagonist’s financial problems?  Hold a sale so that other people can help finance her debt!)  It didn’t do well, either commercially or critically.  A few years later, the pro-shopping message doesn’t feel so horrible anymore, but this does little to improve what will always remain an example of the worst tendencies of the romantic comedy sub-genre.  As far as bubbly heroines go, it’s hard to do better than Isla Fisher.  But where the film clearly takes on the worst characteristics of romantic comedies is in explaining (or rather, not explaining) how or why she would catch the eye of a Prince-Charming business mogul, rich heir and all-around considerate person.  For a protagonist with significant personal problems, the film chooses to ignore a whole lot of potential issues on its way to a happy ending.  Such is the nature of romantic comedies, though, which may help to explain why we’ve seen far fewer of them recently.  But is this being too hard on a film that doesn’t really mean to be mean?  Probably.  On a surface level, Confessions of a Shopaholic is a breezy comedy anchored by the performances of talent actors.  It works as it intends to work, and we can’t necessarily fault it for executing competently the somewhat dubious pillars of its chosen sub-genre.  At the very least, it’s watchable enough.  As a surprise side-note: the film was actually produced by action-movie-maven Jerry Bruckheimer… who would have thought?

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