‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ movie review: Isla Fisher a delight in thrifty comedy

With a better cast than you’d expect for this kind of material, including a feisty Isla Fisher in the lead, P.J. Hogan’s Confessions of a Shopaholic is about as good as one could reasonably expect. 

And unlike other films skewed to the same demographic, Sex and the City, The Women, and (shudder) Bride Wars, this one actually confronts materialism to a reasonable degree. Of course, given the current economic climate, does the movie do true justice to the effects of shopaholism? No, but I’ll be waiting for the film that does.

Fisher, in a role that should elevate her the level of semi-stardom enjoyed by Amy Adams (and you’ll forgive me if I cannot tell the two apart), stars as Rebecca Bloomwood, a woman who makes her latest purchase with $50 in cash and $70 split between three different credit cards. 

She’s just lost her job, has racked up an impossible level of debt over the years, and is currently being chased by a persistent collector, who she claims is an ex-boyfriend stalker to avoid embarrassment and have security drag him away. The depressing reality of this situation, that I’d like to see.

But no, this is Jerry Bruckheimer-produced fantasy. So Rebecca somehow gets a gig at a financial magazine, where she advises readers on consumer caution, all the while keeping an eye on her dream job at sister magazine Alette, a fashion rag run by a French-accented Kristen Scott Thomas. 

She romances Brit boss Luke (Hugh Dancy), struggles through some shopaholic support-group meetings, and visits her parents (John Goodman & Joan Cusack), who inform her that they’ve spent all their savings. Eventually, Rebecca makes a big splash with her financial column, but will her true shopaholic nature reveal itself and threaten her job? Oh, what irony.

The script in Shopaholic is set on autopilot, but the cast livens up the familiarity. While no one outside Fisher gets a chance to shine, Dancy is a reasonable enough romantic lead, Krysten Ritter is fun as Rebecca’s roommate and best friend, and it’s always nice to see Goodman and Cusack. 

Still, John Lithgow is completely wasted as the magazines’ owner, and Lynn Redgrave, who is credited as “Drunken Lady at Ball”, well…no comment.

Nothing new here, but a pleasant enough ride for the target audience. Others beware.

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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