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Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
I'm glad that I only paid £5 for this rubbish..
Confessions Of A Shopaholic is a light hearted comedy based on the Sophie Kinsella novel of the same name. We follow the life of Becky Bloomwood, a self confessed shopaholic who finds herself over £16,000 in debt following her uncontrollable spending sprees. She ironically takes up a job at a financial magazine to fund her obsession, trying to keep the lid on her debt ridden past, where she falls for her boss, Luke Brandon.
Unfortunately, the film is not a patch on the book. Becky in the movie comes across as a vapid, self absorbed twenty something, who is too air headed to realise the error of her ways. She's rude and obnoxious, yet every character seems to fall head over heels for her at first sight. For some reason, the film also gave her a more 'klutzy' nature, no doubt trying to balance out the depth the character lost from the novel.
Becky from the books is a lot more grounded, good natured, and whilst she is a little air headed, she also shows genuine remorse for her actions. She speaks her mind, but she isn't obnoxious about it, and she genuinely tries her best in every situation, a character trait that redeems her from being admittedly shallow.
When we lose the softer, genuine and over all more likable side to her character, Becky Bloomwood makes for an irritating, and frankly flat, lead character.
Matters aren't helped by the fact that Luke Brandon also loses a lot of his character, the film makes him out to be a puppy eyed idiot who exists solely to be Becky's love interest. We lose the firm, but kind hearted man from the books, who doesn't bend over backwards for Becky, but looks past her flashy exterior to the intelligent and creative woman within.
Derrick Smeath is also painted out to be a villain, when the guy was just doing his job, something that is touched upon in the original novel. He is given a more human side, and is willing to offer Becky help, not point out her flaws live on television, like in the movie. The scene where Becky pays him just cements how much bitchier her movie persona is, losing the sweet humour that came with the novel.
The physical comedy is overused, unfunny, and more importantly, unnecessary. From the scene where Becky scrambles across the conference table to stop Luke from answering the phone, to the one where her jacket unravels and spills beads across the floor; resulting in her slipping and falling on another woman. It comes across as a desperate attempt to make up for the subtle and clever humour lost from the book. More importantly, it doesn't work.
Understandably the storyline couldn't remain exactly the same when converted from a novel into a film, but it didn't quite need to have suffered quite so badly. Important scenes are omitted, bizarre ones are added, and some characters pop in and out so infrequently we don't really grasp their importance to Becky. The premise of the book is admittedly, already outlandish, the film takes this to whole new levels.
I also feel the whole film suffered drastically from not being set in London, as in the original novel, because part of Becky's charm was lost by making her the stereotypical American girl.
In short, if you liked the movie, try the book. Because it is much better, Becky is more likable, Luke has a personality, and gasp, being cute doesn't get you out of everything.
School of Comedy (2008)
Good actors, poor writing.
Unfortunately E4 have a habit of pimping out shows that turn out to be awful. We've had the 'School of Comedy' all but forced down our throats for the past few weeks in the form of adverts, text within other programs, and the promise that we're going to wet ourselves laughing at children acting like adults.
Unfortunately it failed to deliver. It's a good concept if the thought of children acting like grown ups is enough to make you go into fits of laughter, but if you're expecting anything deeper you'll be disappointed. The child actors are not to be faulted in the slightest, there's some very promising performances from them, especially given they work through different accents and characters quite seamlessly. The writers appear to think that we'll simply be bowled over by children swearing, and don't bother to try and include any deeper reaching comedy; a shame since it seems these children are quite capable of it.
In short, very impressive acting from such a young cast, ultimately let down by poor and very lazy writing. Here's to hoping they buck up their ideas, or that these endearing children get a chance to go on and star in something decent.
Coming of Age (2007)
Coming of Age has very few redeeming factors about it, one being the surprisingly intriguing advert showing the main cast performing euphemisms for masturbating. For example one girl was shown flicking jellybeans to represent 'flicking the bean', and one of the boys was shown spanking a monkey with a table tennis paddle, for 'spanking the monkey'. Unfortunately the writers used up all their creative juices in that alone, and left the series bone dry.
The acting is poor, and the jokes are boring, bland and extremely predictable. The characters are one dimensional, something akin to how the cast of 'Two Pints of Larger' after the series had ran out of decent ideas; not a good look for a brand new show. The show runs on toilet humour, mentions to bodily functions and genitalia are supposed to bring in the majority of the laughter.
If you're a big fan of Two Pints of Larger, or a thirteen year old who giggles at 'naughty words', then this show might be for you. It had the potential to be half way decent but falls very short of the mark.