Film Review: Confessions Of A Shopaholic

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 20 Feb 2009

For a long while now, ‘chick-flicks’ have struggled to push the envelope. From last years phenomenally average 27 Dresses to the more recent, and equally tactless Bride Wars, the genre is entirely devoid of imagination though still keeps its core following happy.

For those looking in the ever predictable story of girls meets boy, girl likes boy, girl and boy seem destined to be apart, girl and boy end up together, won’t stand up time and time again, but there’s something about the everlasting romance that has women clawing for more every time. Based on the hugely successful Shopaholic book series by Sophie Kinsella, Confession Of A Shopaholic chick-flick hoping not to be yet another bland rom-com to throw on the pile.

After her horticultural magazine falls on dire times, shopaholic-in-denial Rebecca Bloomwood (Fisher) might have a wardrobe full of gorgeous clothes but she’s heavily in debt and without a pay packet to check at the end of the month.

Dreaming of working for fashion magazine Alette, she manages to secure an interview for an open position, but after the place is filled internally, finds herself instead in the office of financial magazine Successful Savings with the daunting prospect of selling her less than knowledgeable financial side.

Against all the odds, Rebecca somehow gets the job, and starts a new column, giving understandable financial advice, though despite its popularity, she never manages to sort out her own shopping triggered debt, and her new found success threatens to cave in on itself.

With the customary will-they-won’t-they love interest provided by magazine editor Luke Brandon (Dancy), Confessions… takes the usual steps down the chick-flick route, and you could predict the ending within the first 10 minutes, but this shouldn’t necessarily put you off the film from the start.

To her credit, and in one of her first leading roles, Isla Fisher shows great charisma in a performance brimming with energy. Despite a script that lacks humour at some point, Fisher is a very watchable presence and keeps the film going during its slow points.

In minor roles Kristin Scott Thomas, Joan Cusack and John Goodman are a joy to behold, despite their characters only sharing a wisp of time in front of the camera. Perhaps a flaw equally in the source material as the film itself, one of the biggest aggravations, beyond the predictability, instead lies with some of the actions of Miss Bloomwood and her overly irrational spending habits. Despite maxing out numerous credit cards, our heroine still spends and spend and spends, leaving you wanting to shake some sense into the character, rather than ambling along with the film, and forgoing all sympathy from the audience when her financial troubles at last start to catch up with her.

At barely sub-two hours, the plot drifts along on auto-pilot for too long for Confessions Of A Shopaholic to ever really stand out.

If you are willing to turn your brain off, Fisher makes the film very watchable, but it’s core message over materialism and financial stupidity are confused and the film lacks just that few more laughs to tip it above mediocrity.

★★★★★

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