Confessions of a Shopaholic
Outfitting a Strategy to Bolster the Economy
Starring: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy
By Stella J. Kim
In the midst of America’s current fiscal crisis and devastated economy, watching a film about over-spending and being in debt would seem to be about as enjoyable as rubbing salt into a deep wound. Ill-timed and ironic, this type of film would be an unfortunate reminder for many Americans who spend their money on films to get away from the world, not to relive their own problems on the big screen. However, despite the possibly misleading title, P.J. Hogan’s Confessions of a Shopaholic is an upbeat and surprisingly delightful film, which may bring more sentiments of hope rather than despair to audiences everywhere.
Based on the popular series by Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic focuses on the life of journalist and shopping-addicted slave to fashion, Rebecca Bloomwood, played by the oh-so-endearing Isla Fisher.After losing her job, Rebecca searches for another source of income to support her shopping addiction, and finds herself working – and falling – for charming editor Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy) of a financial savings magazine. Fisher is effortlessly cute and likeable in this film – she convincingly portrays a love-struck woman, completely infatuated with shopping. Her (almost unrealistically) caring best friend Suze, played by Krysten Ritter, supportively encourages Rebecca to get through her incurable addiction by pushing her into Shopaholics Anonymous meetings,buying self-help instructional DVDs, and (unsuccessfully) helping Rebecca clean out her closet. Delightful cameos are scattered throughout the film – from comedy veterans like John Lithgow, who is surprisingly serious in this film, to Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen, best known for portraying President Obama. Kristen Scott Thomas nails the role of Alette Naylor, the stylish and idolized French editor of Alette Magazine, Rebecca’s Bible since she was 7.
Colorful and stylish, the fashions in this film are to die for – female audiences will be green with envy at the luxurious items Rebecca (who channels her inner Sex and the City diva, with help from fashion genius Patricia Fields) dons throughout her journey from an uncontrollable money spender to a changed woman with re-assessed priorities.Male viewers will likely be forced into this film by avid fans of the novels, or by fashion-addicted females. Men beware – you will either be horrified by the spending habits of Rebecca and be grateful for not having a woman like her in your life; or you will knowingly shake your head in frustration and compare her to the she-devil you luckily ended it with.
Although this film does include a love story (after all, what better time for a romance than just before Valentine’s Day?), it is not a certified chick-flick. It attempts to delve deeper as a story about the human capabilities for change and new beginnings, which anyone – including males – can identify with. After losing her best friend, her potential lover, and her reputation as a savvy financial specialist due to her debts and shopping affliction, Rebecca Bloomwood is able to pick herself back up, with the help of loving parents (John Goodman and Joan Cusack), her will control, and her desire to help others avoid being in her fabulous, but troubled, shoes.