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Confessions of a Shopaholic is a verrrry strange film, with a great cast, and a somewhat rubbish script. Fairly enjoyable provided you leave your brain behind; could have been great. I read one of the original Shopaholic novels, and the airheaded stupidity of the main character is faithfully reflected in the film.

I have to say, anyone suffering from major credit card debt will find it pretty damned triggering - the heroine is ooh, about $16,000 in debt, maxing out about 12 cards in rotation and constantly being chased by debt collectors. Although she lies constantly, she is of course good-hearted and genuine or she'd never get Colin Firth Hugh Dancy to fall for her.

Despite the subject matter, the film is still a love letter to the joys of designer shopping (just as the novels were). There is the teeniest tiniest faintest critique of rampant consumerism in here, but you'd have to concentrate quite hard. I've seen lofty reviews saying that this is all in poor poor taste given these straitened times, but at some level, I think the sheer ambivalence of films like this towards spending explains exactly why people would run up debts...

I'm always interested to note that while Naomi Wolf wrote The beauty myth about the cosmetics industry, there is no comparable critique of the fashion industry. Yes, you have critiques of Size Zero, body fascism and sweatshops, but there's not much criticising of the industry that tries so hard to make us throw away our clothes every year, and to convince that (whatever we earn), an It bag is a mere essential.

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February 2014

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