Hollywood sure thinks so! Or, rather, at least wants you to think so. In a piece by Claudia Eller in today’s Los Angeles Times, the veteran reporter talks to a number of Hollywood insiders about the box-office prospects of Confession of a Shopaholic, which stars Isla Fisher as a fiscally irresponsible young woman and opens on February 13. Unfortunately, a number of the people Eller spoke to have a vested interest in the film’s success, namely the film’s producer and the studio’s president of marketing (respectively). “The timing for this movie couldn’t be better,” Jerry Bruckheimer tells her, while Jim Gallagher goes on record with this gag-worthy quote: “I can’t think of a time where people are more in need of laughter and entertainment more than they do right now.” But just when you think that the piece is beginning to veer closer to publicity than journalism, Eller has a good instinct to put a call in to a third party who could analyze the situation impartially. Unfortunately, though, that instinct led her to ring up notorious Hollywood numbers-comparer Paul Dergarabedian.
“If people wanted movies to reflect real life, then Iraq war movies would have done a lot better than they did,” says Paul Dergarabedian, who heads the box-office tracking firm Media by Numbers, referring to recent pictures torn from the headlines such as “Stop-Loss,” “In the Valley of Elah” and “Redacted.”
Have you ever heard more sage analysis? Listen, we don’t really have any vested interest in bashing Confessions Of A Shopaholic, we swear. In fact, there’s a good chance that our significant others will
force convince us to take in a screening when it opens next weekend (which we won’t object to, considering we’re actually kind of interested in seeing if the wildly charismatic Isla Fisher can actually carry a movie on her own). It’s just that the quotes that Eller compiled for this piece kind of make us want to barf, what with their total sense of pie-eyed optimism that doesn’t quite jive with what people outside of the Hollywood system are experiencing these days. Especially when the piece closes with an inane quote like this from veteran Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman: “We need glamour and escapism more than ever. Let’s put it this way. No one at the Golden Globes was walking down the red carpet in burlap or dresses from the Gap.”