Monday, April 2, 2012

Confessions Of A Shopaholic (2009)

Directed by P.J Hogan (1)

Cast: Isla Fisher (2), Hugh Dancy (3), Joan Cusack (4), John Goodman (5), and Krysten Ritter (6)

My favourite quotes - "They said I was a valued customer. Now they send me hate mail.", "When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it's not, and I need to do it again." & "She's not my girlfriend. She's not you."

"10 dollars is a lot of money!" I remember my mum exclaiming when she found out I bought something that cost $10 - I don't even remember what I bought, shows how much I probably didn't need it. I never fully understood her distress until now.

Now that I am a working adult with a mediocre monthly pay, everything seems too expensive. Yes, even that full plate of rice with cooked dishes at my office canteen that set me back $4.30 today seems to be expensive.

Watching this film, I wouldn't say I am as bad of a shopaholic as Rebecca Bloomwood. But I have to admit that I have a problem managing my finances. Sometimes, with a "magic card" (credit card), you forget how much you actually spend a month. You see, when you use a credit card, the money is not immediately deducted from your bank account. So when you check your bank balance, you don't realise that you don't actually have that amount of money to spend. Are these "magic cards" evil then? The answer is no, but credit cards can be dangerous. As seen in this movie, which was adapted from the book series of the same name by Sophie Kinsella (books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed). So credit card holders, you have to be good at controlling yourself and managing your finances.

Everyone has a weakness when it comes to shopping. What is yours? I have a long list of weaknesses - DVDs & Blu Rays taking the top spot in mine, then Threadless T-Shirts, then books, then accessories (like Pandora). Thankfully, I am not into make-up, branded goods, and shoes.

However, the film is not just about shopping or shopaholics. It's about material goods versus what truly matters like friends and family. It's about what you want, or what you think you want, and the price (and I don't just mean money) you have to pay to get it. In the film, when we first meet the male lead in the film, played by the very dashing Hugh Dancy, he said this "You want your scarf, I want my hot dog, cost and worth are very different things."

The film spoke to me because of the value it was promoting. That family and friends are worth more than any material goods you own. Sell everything you own and you are still not a pauper. Because you have your family and friends who will love you no matter how you disappoint them or hurt them (emotionally). Well, at least I hope that's true in your life. So if you need help, don't hesitate to reach out to your family and close friends.

I have to confess that the main reason why I connected with the film is because the feeling and reaction Rebecca has when she gets her credit card bills is the exact same one I have these days. (Cue big bulging eyes, gaping mouth, a look of horror, and heart palpitations)

Isla Fisher did a fantastic job as Rebecca Bloomwood, as did actors Joan Cusack and John Goodman as her parents. Isla Fisher made Rebecca the everyday girl, 'The Girl in the Green Scarf', who could very well be you. In fact, after I watched this film for the first time, I started to pay attention to the films with Isla Fisher in it.

A big shout out as well for Krysten Ritter's turn as Rebecca's best friend Suze who is the right mix of quirky and sensibility. Hugh Dancy's acting was subtle and passable in the film. I say this because after watching him in the film Adam, where he plays a man who has Asperger's, I think his acting here was at best sufficiently believable. Although, perhaps it is because the role doesn't give him the chance to flex his acting muscles as much, so I guess it's a little unfair to judge him so harshly. The focus after all is on Isla Fisher's Rebecca Bloomwood.

Although I try to stay clear of the technical bits of a film, I have to say I love the way the mannequins came to life and started talking to Rebecca. Because sometimes, it does feel like items I want to purchase come alive and start convincing me to buy them. That said, perhaps it is just the voices in my head talking to me. Whatever the case, in the film, the director has helped manifest this inner voice visually and in such an interesting way. Nicely done, P. J. Hogan.

Name: Monica Goh
Occupation: Writer
Jacket: Threadless Hoodie at a discount (read USD$29)
Dress: I don't do dresses. Well, I don't do dresses often enough.
Belt: Practically non-existent
Bag: 15 pounds in cash and worth every penny

(1) P.J Hogan has directed films like Muriel's Wedding (1994) My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), and Peter Pan (2003)

(2) Isla Fisher has acted in films like Scooby-Doo (2002), I ♥ Huckabees (2004), Wedding Crashers (2005), Wedding Daze (2006), and Definitely, Maybe (2008)

(3) Hugh Dancy has acted in films like Black Hawk Down (2001), King Arthur (2004), Ella Enchanted (2004), The Jane Austen Book Club (2007), Evening (2007), Adam (2009), and Hysteria (2011) He also plays the role of Will Graham in the television series Hannibal (2013).

(4) Joan Cusack has acted in films like Sixteen Candles (1984),Working Girl (1988), Say Anything... (1989), Addams Family Values (1993), Nine Months (1995), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), Runaway Bride (1999), Where The Heart Is (2000), School Of Rock (2003), Raising Helen (2004), Ice Princess (2005), Friends With Money (2006), My Sister's Keeper (2009), and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012). She voiced the character of Jessie in the animation Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010), the character of Verushka the Witch in the animation Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil (2011), and the mission control elf in the animation Arthur Christmas (2011). 

(5) John Goodman has acted in films like Raising Arizona (1987), Arachnophobia (1990), Born Yesterday (1993), The Flintstones (1994), The Big Lebowski (1998), Coyote Ugly (2000), Evan Almighty (2007), Speed Racer (2008), The Artist (2011), and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

(6) Krysten Ritter has acted in films like 27 Dressses (2008), What Happens In Vegas (2008), and She's Out of My League (2010)

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Confessions Of A Shopaholic will remind you that material goods should not be the center of your life. Surround yourself with family and friends who care for you and are priceless instead of things that aren't worth much but cost plenty. (3 of 5)

Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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