Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)

Genre: Romantic Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 52 min.

Release Date: February 13th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: P.J. Hogan Actors: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Wendie Malick, Lynn Redgrave, John Goodman

 


 

F

or a romantic comedy to remain in its genre, there are certain boundaries it mustn’t cross. Viewers really can’t begrudge such a film for playing it safe and “Confessions of a Shopaholic” does just that – the actual predicaments and resolutions may not necessarily be predictable, but the progression certainly is. The financially naïve protagonist inadvertently finds her calling while awaiting what she’s always wanted, but her addictions (and a few mean people) strive to bring her down. Reaching rock bottom inevitably initiates conquering her demons to rise once again. Perhaps closer analysis may uproot a deeper message as her boss’s journey contradicts her own; while he yearns not to be defined by family, she discovers that it is indeed those loved ones that define her. But alas, a few klutzy slapstick gags later and such trivialities quickly immerse themselves back beneath the surface.

Struggling with her debilitating obsession with shopping and the sudden collapse of her income source, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) unintentionally lands a job writing for a financial magazine after a drunken letter-mailing mix-up. Ironically writing about the very consumer caution she has definitely not abided, Rebecca’s innovative comparisons and unconventional metaphors for economics grant her critical acclaim, public success, and the admiration of her supportive boss Luke (Hugh Dancy). But as she draws closer to the ultimate goal of writing for renowned fashion magazine Alette, she questions her true ambitions and must determine if overcoming her “shopaholic” condition will bring real happiness.

The fish-out-of-water story seems to keep popping up in every single romantic comedy of late; “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is no exception, although the supporting characters and environment that surround star Isla Fisher are entirely more pleasant. In fact, her wide-eyed, perky, and cheery attitude brightens the screen, even if the plot is unduly contrived and understandably formulaic. She’s believable, relatable to a great many, and eye candy for the rest – which is more than can be said for most of the generic female-oriented films that flood the market every Valentine’s weekend (and several weeks prior).

Like last year’s “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People” (which this surpasses), “Confessions of a Shopaholic” works around the same humorous elements that made the far superior films “Big” and “Working Girl” successful: an open-minded boss who’s willing to risk hiring an unqualified (or outstandingly creative) employee for the chance of a fresh point of view; and the joys of seeing said underdog rise to the top, against the norm, utilizing random luck at every turn, and combating jealous coworkers. The pattern is simple, the outcome is assured, and while no scene dares to stare originality in the face, this fluffy, buoyant romantic comedy manages to entertain expectedly and as it should.

– The Massie Twins

  • 6/10