Ahhh! (Sigh of contentment) Gotta love the Internet! Early Sunday morning, I checked up on Saturday's TV schedule and was very disappointed to see that I had missed “Confessions of a Shopaholic,”a show that I had intended to catch when it first came out. Not to worry, I looked up where I could download the Torrent file from, did so, burned it to a CD and have watched a little over a half-hour of it (I often watch movies a bit at a time). Can one download more recent films, films that haven't made it to the rental shops yet? Yeah, but that feels more like cheating. If I'm going to download a film, I prefer to get one that's at least a year old.
Isla Fisher had been very attractive in “The Wedding Crashers,” so I was interested in seeing her in this, but I have to admit that when her character, Rebecca Bloomwood, battles another woman in the department store over a pair of boots, I just can't identify with the character even a little bit. That particular sort of obsessive behavior is completely unknown to me.
Very interesting to see that the movie borrows heavily from “Pretty Woman,” Bloomwood is much more an “endearing mess” than Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) was. We've learned since Pretty Woman came out that the initial script called for Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) to be both emotionally brutal and brutally honest. The idea was that he'd get Ward's company for a while and would fully compensate her for her time, but would then just coldly dump her. Test audiences didn't like that, so the movie ends with Lewis arriving in his limousine as though he were riding on a horse and waving his umbrella as though it were a sword, y'know, doing the whole “knight in shining armor” routine.
I think the test audiences took a bum rap, though. They were characterized as being romantics, as desiring a happy ending over a cold reality. There's a lot of truth to that, but I don't think that was quite the entire problem. I think the Edward character was so emotionally cold that no one could identify with him. No one could find any common human bond with someone who could spend time with someone as charming as Ward was without wanting to stay with her.
In charm and beauty, Bloomwood and Ward are pretty close to being equals. My own personal preference is that I'd enjoy dealing with them both as co-workers, but neither one really appeals to me romantically.
I think Shopaholic does a good job with our romantic interest/villain Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy). Brandon is seen as a corporate supervisor interacting with other corporate supervisors and he openly announces his e-e-eville plan to utilize Bloomwoods' talents in order to benefit the corporation he works for. Bloomwood is as innocent and unknowing as Ward was, but our villain is a much more believably human type, someone who's chasing corporate profits at the expense of his humanity, but who ju-u-ust might fall under Bloomwood's charms before his evil plan can come to fruition. In this, the stakes have been clearly marked out and there hasn't been any romantic and/or sexual type of contact prior to our knowing that Brandon is up to no good. So as Bloomwood and Brandon dance around each other and take turns instructing each other in their own particular specialties, we can enjoy the ride and learn a bit about the obsession of shopping.