Based on the best-selling novel by Sophie Kinsella, P.J. Hogan’s film Confessions of a Shopaholic will be playing in theaters this February 13th, just in time for Valentine’s day.

Our headstrong, but sweet and suggestible protagonist Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) embodies the concept of financial deficit through her insatiable materialism. The Aussie actress tells The Herald Sun that the consumerist fetishization shown in the film will inspire consumption and public spending, hopefully to revitalize the economy.

The movie’s website promotes online shopping too—hosted by BlueFly Inc.—a “NASDAQ Smallcap company,” viewers can buy shoes, cashmere sweaters and other expensive clothing products. 

She compares her childhood love of beautiful things like a commercial fairy tale:

“When I was 7, most of my friends stopped believing in magic. That’s when I first started. They were beautiful, they were happy, they didn’t even need any money: they had magic cards!”

She takes a job in New York city as the only female financial journalist at a high powered savings magazine. Ironically enough, she’s the moral authority on spending; giving advice to the rest of the world on how to best invest their cash. Meanwhile, her love of shopping takes her down to a dark place of hopeless addiction, and the nauseating visual of her massive stack of unpaid credit card bills is enough to make anybody cry.

Rebecca and her myriad of high-end outfits

Rebecca and her myriad of high-end outfits

Buying nothing but high-end couture, all of the value of her material possessions are grossly inflated, and through her unending pursuit of fashion happiness she overspends, over borrows, and has to come up with a way to pay it all off.

That’s not the only negative way women have been portrayed in film recently. I read a particularly angry blog that made the observation that:

“Though women are the leads in the #2-grossing movie of the year so far (that would be Bride Wars), we’ve spent most of the month getting chased by maniacs, haunted by ghost children, slashed with knives, abused by our husbands, ignored in movies where we’re supposedly the main characters or forced to fall in love with Kevin James.” 

The stereotype of women and governments overspending is one that leaves much to be desired, and this film doesn’t give the female image any credibility when it indulges in four minute long scenes involving two women fighting over the last pair of Gucci boots at the boutique…. sigh.