CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC: On general release from Wednesday 18th February 2009
Whether you’ve been dragged along by a friend a few dimensions short of a real person or go willingly to see this kind of standard girly fluff, you’re kind of obliged to have a word with yourself before you enter the cinema. Shake off any expectations of filmic grandeur – this isn’t going to be Apocalypse Now – and resist the temptation to pit it against giants of the film world in favour of viewing it a little more sympathetically; within that well known genus of “Giggly Nonsense”.
This is what I did. A merciful judge, I wrestled with my wagging condemnatory finger and fierce objection to women as yelping, shopping-obsessed creatures and actually let Confessions of a Shopaholic off- on grounds of it being a vaguely entertaining genre piece.
Isla Fisher (that Ozzie chic from Home and Away) plays Rebecca Bloomwood, a shopaholic who lands a job at a financial magazine, Successful Savings, while trying to get a foot in the door of the publishers who own Alette fashion magazine. Ironically, she succeeds in giving people financial advice though failing miserably to control her own spiralling spending habits. Living with / scrounging off her rich mate Suze (Krysten Ritter), she totters through shopping malls tailed closely by the debt collector.
It’s a formulaic gig: think Bridget Jones with more shrieking, smaller dress sizes and less self-deprecation. There’s a girly girl who loves shopping and squeals a lot and spends the film overcoming her problems to become a better, more rounded person, which of course entails getting together with a dashing English fumble-y bloke, who happens to be her boss (Hugh
Grant Dancy). Oh and don’t forget the stock gay employee (of Anne-Hathaway’s-confidante-Nigel-in-The-Devil-Wears-Prada ilk)- here, the company’s receptionist- who takes on the role of fairy godmother and helps her out along the way, who is undoubtedly my favourite character because he gets all the snide one liners.
Undeniably cringe-worthy bits include scenes where computer generated mannequins not only talk to but also applaud Rebecca as she walks along able to finally resist the lure of the outfits they wear (this is s-t-r-a-n-g-e), the tedious aping about of her Dad (played by blast from the past John Goodman) and Kristin Scott Thomas’ slightly disappointing performance as the French Alette Naylor- sadly, she just doesn’t pull off top bitch quite like the wonderful Miss. Streep.
Despite these things it must be noted that Miss. Fisher does an excellent job and delivers some perfect instances of farce all while managing to avoid being too annoying. She succeeds in making giggly nonsense inoffensive.
Though watching Confessions of a Shopaholic in the current economic climate makes you feel a bit like you’re being subjected to a modern financial morality tale, if you’re feeling frivolous with your time and the cost of a cinema ticket it’s a satisfactory way to fritter away an hour or so.