Confessions of a Shopaholic

There are two book series that I can read over and over again: Harry Potter and Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. Every time I re read one of these books, I enjoy it just as I did the first time.

Rebecca “Becky” Brandon nee Bloomwood is the heroine of the Shopaholic books. I have seen her go from a spendthrift singleton to a spendthrift woman in a relationship to a spendthrift woman with a fiance to a spendthrift wife to a spendthrift woman with a sister to a spendthrift mother. Becky is my friend in my head. I laugh at the crazy things she gets up to and I want to smack when she starts daydreaming about clementine sandals she does not need and definitely cannot afford. Despite her childish impulsiveness and financial irresponsibility, Becky is a star and a great character.

As an ardent Shopaholic fan, I was expectedly very excited when in 2009, a Confessions of a Shopaholic movie was announced. Woohoo I thought. I could not wait to see the film, to see Becky and all the characters come alive on the big screen. It was going to be a fabulous movie of course.

Then it wasn’t.

The first issue was that Rebecca, a lovable Brit who was born and raised in Oxshott, magically became an American on the big screen. This was a good indication of how the movie was going to turn out.

Because Becky was American, her parents had to be American as well, so did Suze and Tarquin. The only one who has even been to England is Luke, who moved there with his father after his parents split. There is no tea drinking.

The screenwriters tried to be creative with the story to the point of ruination. I didn’t expect it to be exactly like the books, but I did not expect it to be so different either. The casting in the film is not very good, or perhaps that is the fault of the script. Isla Fisher could have been a wonderful Becky if the script was right. The film did not capture the essence of Becky and her personality was not translated well on the screen. Becky’s wit, charm and frustrating rationalisation of her reckless spending habits were sorely missing. The film got one thing right; Becky loves to shop.

Krysten Ritter was a bit like how I imagined Suze. Tarquin was normal, which is just unacceptable. I expected to see him in awful clothes, in a field tending to his sheep. On a second thought, Tarquin was not a major character in the book so I guess they could have done whatever with him.

Luke was cute, but nowhere near as badass and assertive as I expected him to be. At least he had an English accent.

Dear old Derek Smeath was portrayed as Becky’s sworn enemy. Smeathie is a lovable, slightly exasperated bank manager who does like Becky. Why was he the one to expose her?

Alicia Bitch long legs was one casting got right, in terms of physical appearance. However, unlike in the novel where she worked with Luke as a PR agent, in the film she worked for a fashion magazine. Her character could definitely have been utilised better.

The entire film was just meh, which is a damn shame because the books are really entertaining.

I rewatched the film yesterday, to see if I judged it too harshly and if time would have made it better. Wrong again. Since the movie came out, I have gotten more familiar with Becky and the other characters so the movie’s shoddiness was even more obvious.

I demand a new film be made.

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