Over the weekend, the Mrs and I managed to catch a film, Ghost Town, which was an absolute cracker, thanks largely to Ricky Gervais.
For reasons I have never fully understood, Mrs INH insists we arrive on time so we can watch the commercials. This means we also watch the shorts for coming films.
Which is how I was forced to watch the short for Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Thirty seconds into this nonsense, I could feel the will to live ebbing from me. As I understand it, Confessions of a Shopaholic details the zany life of the said “shopaholic”, played at some volume by Australian actress Isla Fisher. I further understand that the Fisher character works as a “columnist” at a financial magazine, a role she fills by shrieking and falling over a lot – thus conveying “zaniness” and what not.
Bugger me sideways with a stick, how did we reach this point? How is it that most of the female characters in romantic comedies are generally portrayed as thick as two short planks covered in butter? And why are female characters in films from the 1940s, not a decade noted for its feminist advances, far more subtle, complex and intelligent?
Take for example, the character of Hildy Johnson, played by Rosalind Russell in the 1940 film His Girl Friday*. Johnson, a female journo on a Chicago newspaper, is respected and admired by her colleagues because she’s bloody good at what she does – not because she shrieks and falls over a lot. She also gives as good as she gets in the cracking dialogue.
Or Barbara Stanwyck in the 1941 film, The Lady Eve. As a razor-sharp conwoman Stanwyck runs rings around everybody else. I don’t recall much shrieking and falling over in this film, either.
I think you can trace the “female journo as shrieking dickhead” to Candice Whatshername who wrote the original column Sex and the City was based on. Either way, it’s a pain in the bum.
Both His Girl Friday and The Lady Eve should be available at any half-way decent video shop. I recommend them both highly.
Confessions of a Shopaholic I’d give a wide berth.
*And quite possibly the funniest film ever made, in the history of the universe.