Book vs Movie: The Confessions of a Shopaholic

Majority of the people who fall in love with a book, end up hating its movie adaptation. It’s probably because they feel wronged by how all the facts have been misrepresented or the protagonist looks nothing like how you had imagined in their head or I don’t know,there just seems to be something wrong with the entire ‘feel’ of the film. It repels them.

But I really do not think the same kind of principle can be applied to each and every book based cinematic work out there. Sure, most of them are not even worth the try but there are quite a few that do manage to catch us in the eye as well. Ok, so may, they’ll NEVER match up to the book. But that doesn’t mean they were a big failure either

On today’s list is the Confessions of the Shopaholic series. For those of you , who are unaware of it, trust me. You don’t know what you are missing out. I know most of you would not be able to associate such a mindless chick-lit series with a serious looking nerdy science student like me, but the truth is, it’s got to be one of the most comforting books out there. There’s not a single time that I’ve been sad and that a book from this series has not cheered me up. Rebecca’s charm is infectious and while initially she may seem annoying, you can’t do without her humor after some time.

So, going one by one, lets see the different ways in the movie probably did (or did not) meet the expectations of a die hard fan like me.

Story: A lot has been changed. Like seriously, A LOT. This is one of the biggest turn-off’s for me because the thing I love the most in a book is obviously its STORY. So why does that always get changed in the movie?

First and foremost, since there are so many books in the Series, they have taken the liberty of combining parts from the first three books to make this movie. That kind of did make sense because the conclusion of the first one was quite  bland (In the first book, she pays off her debts by getting a good job. How boring. *yawn*) in comparison to that of the second one (She sells of all her clothing in an auction, which is kind of fun because you get to gasp a lot in this chapter). Plus, by portraying the misunderstood Bank Manager Mr.Derek Smeath as the primary antagonist in the movie, the tension at the climax  was far better.

What I didn’t like however, was the fact that they changed Rebecca’s Job. When on earth did she work for a magazine on Gardening? The job she hated was the one at Successful Savings and in the movie , it is being glorified as the ‘It’ job, which is frankly lame because she hated being a finance journalist.And no, Brandon Communications, that Luke builds in the end, is “sigh” not a Magazine or a Newspaper, but a PR Agency.

Setting: This was by far, the biggest blunder in my opinion. Why would you change the premises of a book that is largely based in London, to New York ?

Sure. She goes to New York for a while in the book. But that isn’t until the second part. And moreover, most of the charm of reading a British book was lost amidst the mayhem of the Big Apple. It somehow didn’t fit.

Characters: Book Luke Brandon (The protagonist Rebecca Bloomwood’s love interest) is a successful PR agent. Movie Luke Brandon is a confused Editor. One of his greatest traits  was his self -assured attitude and that, sadly, was not brought out quite as well in the film.

Buuuut on the PLUS side, I love how they showed his hard-working nature so well on screen . And the guy who played him in the movie   (Hugh Dancy) was spot on! I especially loved the ‘Ummm okay?’ expressions he gave to Rebecca’s nonsense. Extremely hilarious.

Whoever handled the casting, reaaaally knew the book. Their research clearly showed. Be it Rebecca’s Dad, Janice (The Annoying Neighbour), Alicia *ahem* Longlegs, everyone looked like how I’d imagined them in the book which is saying something, considering how rarely that ever happens.

Tarquin , however, was a different story. Not that I’m criticizing the actor who played him or anything. He did a brilliant job, no doubt. But Tarquin’s character is known for being  hilariously disgusting as well as endearing at the same time. That  was missing in the movie.

If I had to choose the two best things about the movie, it would definitely be Krysten Ritter and Isla Fisher. OH MY GOODNESS. They did such a fabulous job, I cannot even describe it. They both were the Rebecca Bloomwood and Suzan Cleathe Stuart , come alive, directly from the books.

 Not a single expression contradicted what was written about their characters and they were such a pleasure to watch. Besides, I love the way they potrayed their best friendship. It’s something so rarely focussed on in films.

In fact, till date, when I re-read the books, I imagine their faces as their characters because they have nailed it so perfectly.

Comedy Factor: Since once of my primary reasons for loving this series so much is it’s ability to make me laugh, this became a very important component for me while watching (judging?) the film. 

And NO, it did not fail me. Most of the dialogues obviously have been changed but they are hilarious in their own way. Again, Suze and Becky (Rebecca) were the show stealers here. And the father wasn’t bad wither. All in all, it was completely worth the watch just for the gags. Oh and watch out for the first scene. That was the best scene of them all.

Wardrobe- I never really imagined the clothes out while reading (which is strange because it is a shopping book) but yeah, I guess the costume designers did a pretty good job. I don’t know. Why are you asking me? It’s not like I’m a designer or something. *awkwardly shrinks away*

Final Verdict: I think the film was more of a hit than a miss. I read some of the reviews the film got when it was first released (I was too small to watch it back then) and most of them were quite negative, which is undoubtedly sad.

It is a really good movie to watch when you’re really down and don’t want to bother too much about the hectic ways of the world.

It’s fun, mindless and colorful to look at. Same goes for the book. So in that way, the movie has kind of lived up to its printed counterpart. Also, in spite of all the changes, they have stayed true to the Moral of the Story, which is,

P.S None of the images above belong to me!  Only the beautifully written text in between (which I’m sure you’ve all ignored) are mine. 🙂




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