Friday, July 17, 2009

Stores, Lies and Credit Card Tape

Whenever one has a visceral, repugnant reaction to something, there's usually more of one's self at issue, rather than the external stimulus. So yeah, look within when you're seething about someone or something, right?

Confessions of a Shopaholic brought not only those groans one makes when watching a really bad film, but it also struck hard at my anti-fashion/anti-bimbo sensibilities. Constant predictability. Cartoon-like, exaggerated characters. Trite story line. A painfully depressing depiction of female characters (lying, superficial, marginally talented).
Then there's the obsession with designer everything (a debt we will forever owe to "Sex in the City"). And this simplistic view of women as either fashionistas or shlubs. Thanks for that message. I'm sure that does wonders for young women everywhere!

Sure the timing of this film couldn't be worse. In current financial times, is anyone able to relate to a free-spending addict who racks up credit card debt like designer handbags? That's just so...early 2000s. There's no blame attributable to the film for our current economic mess. But when reaching the major low point of the character's journey, and feeling nothing short of glee, I'd say some finger pointing in the filmmakers' direction is warranted.

Unlike "Elle Woods" in Legally Blond, whose fashion sense was merely part of a unique character with brains and drive, "Bets" has nothing for us to fall in love with. Her relentless lying might perhaps be more of an issue (and make a more interesting story) than her relentless shopping.

And when I look inward, I can confess: movies about fashion have never been very impressive to me. Eating disorders and tortured animal skins are not my cup of tea. But any great film should transcend subject with good story. (So you don't need to be a rock star to appreciate Spinal Tap.) This one didn't.

And confession number two: I tried to read this book when it first came out. I don't think I made it through the first chapter. Maybe that's just me, though. Off-the-rack-wearing, overweight, plain old me. Talk about a feel good chick flick!