THE FILM INDUSTRY'S been caught at an awkward moment. It's one thing that the early months of the year are a time when the studios release some of their lowest endeavors, but 2009 is slinking out some particularly sheepish flicks that were caught post-production in the wake of our little economic brouhaha. Bride Wars comes to mind as a humiliating romp through superficial entitlement, and Confessions of a Shopaholic, about a young woman named Rebecca (Isla Fisher) whose lust for designer labels drives her $16,000+ into credit card debt, initially appears poised to join it.
It should, however, be pointed out that the sums in this film are laughable—the Yves Saint Laurent, Barneys, and Chanel stores Rebecca frequents would effortlessly dig her into a hole much closer to $160,000 deep, at least. Likewise, an early scene has her gasping at a credit card bill for a mere $900, which is about the average price for just one pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, and this is a woman who never stops at one. It's clear that these figures are scaled down for ballpark relatability, and the lessons in restraint that Rebecca is forced to learn throughout are actually rather prescient.
It's not that Confessions doesn't have its moments, like when Rebecca's father (John Goodman) comments, "If the US economy can survive with 13 billion dollars of debt, so can you." And it certainly has its flaws, like the fact that for a comedy, it's not very funny, that it's weighed down by the usual dull slapstick antics, and that the wardrobes are an inexcusably sub-fabulous missed opportunity. But for all its silliness and throwaway entertainment value, Confessions' onward and upward message contains an unexpectedly comforting camaraderie.