Making a shiny Hollywood film about the perils of shopping is like sending an alcoholic to buy wine for your party. Here, silks glow, furs rustle and getting in debt is fun and glamorous, which is why most of this film is about the slide into negative equity. Getting out again is drawn-out and dull. Here, it takes about 15 minutes.
Still, if you want gritty realism, see an arthouse movie. Or shop in a pound store. As journalist Rebecca, Isla Fisher is silly and adorable – just like this adaptation of Sophie Kinsella’s novel (transposed, naturally, from London to New York). A fashion desperado with more overdue credit card bills than she has little black dresses, she gets a job under sexy Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy) at his unsexy financial magazine hoping she can claw her way up to the company’s flagship publication, Alette. This is a fabulous alternative reality: editors of fashion magazines drop everything to take rookies shopping and even the debt collector has a sense of humour.
And yet there’s reason beneath the nonsense. Rebecca is an addict: she lies and hurts those around her. She doesn’t even look right in her finery; unlike Carrie Bradshaw, she clumps along in her Louboutins like she has no right to them. And of course, she doesn’t. She’s a perfectly packaged product of the last boom, and the film knows so. Not that that gets in the way of having lots of escapist fun with the realities of Rebecca’s own private credit crunch. There’s a lesson there, and it’s not how to accessorise a Prada mini-dress.