Confessions Of A Shopaholic

Director    PJ Hogan
Starring    Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, Kristin Scott Thomas
Release    13 FEB (US) 20 FEB (UK)    Certificate 12A
2 stars


24th February 2009

It seems that any female New Yorker worthy of screen time must be a writer or an aspiring writer - see: Betty Suarez (Ugly Betty), Carrie Bradshaw (Sex And The City), Andy Sachs (The Devil Wears Prada) - so we're already on familiar ground with Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher), a journalist in the Big Apple.

Rebecca starts out as a goofy kid watching glamorous women flit about the shops with their magical plastic cards that allow them to acquire everything their hearts desire. Fast forward 20 years and Becky has several little plastic friends of her own, all maxed out. After losing her job at a gardening magazine, Becky blags her way into a job at Successful Savings magazine: oh, the irony. Under the pseudonym of 'The Girl In The Green Scarf', Rebecca starts a column offering financial advice in understandable terms - "life is like a cashmere coat" - and other such gems.

Becky attracts the attention of her Hugh Grant-esque boss Luke (Hugh Gra- er, Dancy) but the two of them just don't seem to be able to get it together. The Girl In The Green Scarf becomes an inexplicable overnight sensation and opens the door of opportunity for our hapless heroine. However, the debt collectors are nipping at her heels, her shopping addiction is out of control and her web of little white lies is becoming increasingly tangled.

Based on Sophie Kinsella's book of the same name, Confessions Of A Shopaholic has all the usual chick flick credentials - the love interest subplot that gets off to a shaky start, the sassy best friend, triumph over adversity, a lesson learned, mildly amusing turns from a supporting cast and a bitchy arch-enemy. There's nothing in this movie to raise an eyebrow; it's textbook chick flick rom-com fodder that never deviates from the well-worn script and takes precisely zero risks. And that's a great shame because Fisher's performance deserves a better platform.

The timely release of this film mid-credit crunch gives it more pertinence than it deserves. Rebecca's shopping addiction is simply an excuse for shopping spree montages (cf. Pretty Woman), an array of fabulous designer outfits for Fisher and plenty of shameless product placements (producer Jerry Bruckheimer has started advertising his own movies in his own movies). It doesn't shed any light on rabid materialism or credit-driven addiction, it trivialises it.

The love story between Rebecca and Luke is not particularly engaging but the supporting cast throw themselves into proceedings. John Goodman and Joan Cusack play Becky's thrifty parents, while Krysten Ritter makes an excellent sidekick as Becky's best friend Suze. Kristin 'What Were You Thinking?' Scott Thomas plays a snooty Anna Wintour-esque fashion editor, looking slightly sheepish throughout.

Isla Fisher is effervescent, wide-eyed and adorable. She has fantastic comic timing that naturally lends itself to the slapstick tomfoolery in the movie and her comedy dance moves rival Napoleon Dynamite, David Brent and Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder. Fisher has come a long way since her Aussie soap days in Summer Bay; a scene-stealing turn in Wedding Crashers allowed her to flex her comedic muscles for the world to see and it was only a matter of time before she bagged a lead comedy role.

Thank god she did. Fisher lifts Confessions out of the one-star sin bin and turns it into an enjoyably silly romp. It's the cinematic equivalent of Candy Floss (cotton candy to our American friends) - it consists of nothing but pink fluff and air but it's mighty sweet and a guilty pleasure to indulge in once in a while.

More:  Comedy  Romance  Shopping  Books
Follow us on Twitter @The_Shiznit for more fun features, film reviews and occasional commentary on what the best type of crisps are.
We are using Patreon to cover our hosting fees. So please consider chucking a few digital pennies our way by clicking on this link. Thanks!

Share This