Sunday, February 15, 2009


Once upon a time, if memory serves (and I’m quite sure it does), Confessions of a Shopaholic had a different actress attached to its starring role: Lindsay Lohan.

Now, I’m not going to dwell on what could have been – mostly, because, well, what’s the point, but especially because in Isla Fisher the movie has found a many-splendored thing. Confessions of a Shopaholic is elevated by Fisher. Her character is beautiful, ditzy, insightful, resourceful, and wonderful, but it’s too bad that the movie doesn’t share all of those qualities, but three out of five (i.e., beautiful, ditzy, and resourceful) isn’t bad.

Thank goodness for Patricia Field, huh.

The movie is a cliché-ridden homage to a post-Carrie Bradshaw profession, that of a magazine writer in New York City. Fisher, who stole Wedding Crashers from Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn four years ago, plays Rebecca Bloomwood. She’s the kind of girl with enough pluck to make it in the big, indeed, except for one big problem: she’s an unabashed, rationalizing, hide-from-the-debt-collector shopaholic.

Rebecca’s almost $17,000 in the red, and unless she does something about it, well…things aren’t going to go so well for her, are they.

While she would adore to work at Alette, a top fashion magazine, she can’t get in the door – that is, until she scores a job (she doesn’t care for) at sister publication Successful Saving (after first meeting not-cute on the street with her editor, played by the dashing Hugh Dancy).

And, natch, as it is the wont of a rom-com, Rebecca only gets the job, as an advice columnist, after not getting it and then writing a “brilliant” essay drunk out of her skull on tequila, which she thought she was sending to Alette, and a beyond-inappropriate stick-it letter to Dancy’s Luke Brandon she’s too smashed to realize she’s switched….

But you know how it goes: In spite of these trappings it all works out in the end.

Rebecca’s columns become an overnight sensation, but when her shopaholism and growing debt issues threaten to destroy her love life and derail her career, she struggles to keep it together, and ultimately has to re-evaluate what matters in life.


Confessions of a Shopaholic had the task to offer maximum escapism at a time in which large amounts of it seem like a slap in the face. To see Rebecca spend like it’s going out of style (which it…has) is a little irritating, but to see Fisher do it, to see her become a star, it’s a delight.

My Rating ***

Photo: Walt Disney Pictures.

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