Charm can go a long way in making a film. Or, in the case of Confessions of a Shopaholic, the charm of Isla Fisher makes the film bearable. With a predictable plot and some glaring holes, if it weren’t for the slapstick ways of the film’s star I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to make it all the way through without throwing a handbag, pair of shoes or anything else I could get my hands on (living things excluded) at the screen.
Fisher plays journalist Rebecca Bloomwood, a fashion-sensitive gal who lives to break out her credit card at even the slightest of urges. From dresses to shoes to accessories, she’s a capitalist’s kinky dream, ready to hand over her earnings – both current and future – at the first sign of something fashionable and on sale. With her lax attitude towards cash, it shouldn’t be surprising that Rebecca has racked up quite the bills with very little prospect of finding a way to pay them off.
Ironically enough, she manages to lie her way into a gig at a financial magazine where her ignorant ramblings touch a nerve and make her the talk of the publishing world. Mayhem ensues as Rebecca tries to keep up the rouse as the pressure of her job and her mounting debts pile high.
Within the opening few minutes it’s easy to see that Fisher was going to be stealing the show. She does an excellent job doing old-fashioned physical comedy, showing an energy that channels another fiery redhead, Lucille Ball. One early scene is particularly funny as Rebecca attempts to steal back a letter while hiding in plain site of a nearly empty magazine reception area. One gag after another rolls out, each ridiculous and funny all the same.
I also really enjoyed the mannequins in the film that double as Rebecca’s subconscious. They come to life – literally – and woo her to come inside their shops. Although done through CG, they reminded me an old episode of The Muppet Show that starred mime troupe Mummenschanz. They move elegantly and show more life than most every other character in the film outside of the star.
Once the story is established, Confessions of a Shopaholic bounces around with little focus. It’s intended to be a storm that comes to a head to hurt Rebecca, but I question whether it’s all really necessary. Let’s start with the romance. Hugh Dancy plays Rebecca’s boss, Luke Brandon. Seeing as how it’s a fluffy comedy, it’s obvious from their first shots together that the romance angle is going to come out at some point. Of course, tension has to remain so a rival female is thrown into the mix. We see Luke and the other girl meet, they establish her interest in him and the next thing you know they’re a somewhat established couple. While it’s not overly surprising and something that required a lot of time, the script just jumps into it without showing a lot of the ‘how.’ This continues on throughout the film with many of the various subplots making for a most annoying atmosphere.
Confessions of a Shopaholic should be treated as a showcase for Isla Fisher as she continues to break away from her scene-stealing supporting role in The Wedding Crashers to one of the industry’s funniest leading ladies. If you take it as a romantic comedy, you may find yourself angered and frustrated to the point where you’d want to commit violent acts you’re not normally prone to.
Confessions of a Shopaholic Blu-ray Review
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that fashion takes center-stage with the bonus features on the Confessions of a Shopaholic Blu-ray. A total of six clothing-centric snippets of less than three minutes each combine to make one average featurette. Each bite takes a different angle on how fashion and the industry plays into the film. For example, some of the pieces look at the clothing worn in the film, while another explores the important green scarf worn in the film, while another still pays tribute to New York’s place in the industry. Other bonus features include a handful of deleted scenes totalling six minutes, some bloopers and three music videos.
The film is very sharp and, from what I could see, flawless. It’s shown in 1080p high definition widescreen (2.40:1 aspect ratio). Audio is in English 5.1 DTS-HD with additional dubbed tracks in French and Spanish. English, French and Spanish subtitles are also included.
The release’s second disc includes a Digital Copy of the film.
Confessions of a Shopaholic Gallery