Confessions of a Shopaholic
Cast: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, John Lithgow, and Kristin Scott Thomas
Director: P.J. Hogan
Writer: Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, and Kayla Alpert (Screenplay); based on the books “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Shopaholic Takes
Manhattan” by Sophie Kinsella
Production Companies: Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Length: 104 minutes
Confessions of a Shopaholic is the redheaded stepchild of Legally Blonde and Bridget Jones’s Diary. The film has a main female character with the eccentric fashion and spending habits of Elle Woods and the clumsy poor decision making of Bridget Jones. The one thing this film is missing that the other two have in common is a well written story.
Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) grew up in a middle class family that valued the power of the penny. As a child she idealized the high society women who could buy whatever they wanted while she was forced to wear bland hand-me-downs. As an adult, Rebecca revolts against her parent’s conservative saving habits and spends uncontrollably on her credit cards. Before she knows it, Rebecca has spent almost $20,000 she never had.
Along with her mothering roommate, Suze (Krysten Ritter), Rebecca decides to reorganize her life. She begins to attend Shopaholic’s meetings (like AA with more money and accessories), cleans out her filled to capacity walk-in closet, and finds a new job. The catch is that all the positive deeds Rebecca takes on to improve her life backfires. At her Shopaholic’s meetings, instead of learning to curtail her spending habits she innocently encourages her fellow spenders to indulge in their addiction. Instead of throwing all of her cloths out she hides them in a swelling closet that almost kills Suze via the way of high fashion when it finally erupts. Then by a trick of fate she ends up working as a writer for a financial magazine shelling out money saving advice when she is up to her eyeballs in debt. What is a girl to do when she is so stressed? Well, shop of course.
Confessions of a Shopaholic showcases one of today’s best physical comics, Isla Fisher. She brings joy and sparkle to the screen every time she appears. This film would have been a pointless rehashing of every romantic comedy in the past if it wasn’t for Fisher’s performance. She is over the top at times (see dancing fan sequence), but her physical antics lead to her likeability and charm.
Fisher is supported by a top notch cast. Hugh Dancy plays Luke Brandon, Rebecca’s lonely English boss at the money magazine. He instantly falls under Rebecca’s magnetism and as a result is constantly cleaning up the mess she leaves behind. This is the first film I have seen Dancy in and he reminds me of a young Colin Firth, but less talented and shorter. He fits well in this puppy dog role, but is outshined by Fisher. Joan Cusack and John Goodman play Rebecca’s level headed parents.
Joan Cusack is an amazing actress and very funny, she does not disappoint here and surprisingly enough her brother John is nowhere to be found. The disappointing performance was Kristin Scott Thomas as the boss at a high fashion magazine that Rebecca dreams about writing for. Thomas’s French accent was so over done I started to giggle every time she opened her mouth.
This film had three main writers and oh boy it showed. It felt like they drew straws on which parts they would write. One person got the first act, another the second, and the short straw loser was stuck with the ending. The story did not flow smoothly. A particular poor scene change was noticeable when Rebecca was mistaken for a waitress at a fancy ball and ended up serving the meal for her own table. Brandon rushes in to save the day and then the scene just cuts to the two of them up on the roof. I was lost for a few seconds trying to figure out how they magically appeared on the roof.
The costumes in this film gave Sex in the City a run for its money. I have never before seen so much bright pink, orange, and red before. I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of the cloths, well I wouldn’t fit in them anyways, but they were creative and eye catching.
Confessions of a Shopaholic is a showcase for the talented Isla Fisher. The writing is lacking and disjointed so it never reaches the level it could have. It is in no way an Oscar contender, but it suits its purpose. It is an average rom-com, but will leave it’s audience with a smile which is what we all need these days.