Friday, 22 January 2010

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Lowdown: A modern shopping crazy woman gets in trouble when she can't sustain her consumerism.
In retrospect, the one main thing I took with me from the otherwise mundane Wedding Crashers was Isla Fisher. She was definitely the most interesting thing about that film, so when Confessions of a Shopaholic was released – a film that put Fisher in the starring role of a major Hollywood release – I was curious to see how well she’s done.
Confessions of a Shopaholic is your typical heavily tailored chicks’ flick. Fisher is a big time women’s fashion shopaholic, in a manner not unlike that of the Sex and the City women. The key difference, though, is in Fisher's inability to pay for the stuff she buys. As a result, her life is on a major rollercoaster where on one hand she’s avoiding debt collectors while on the other she’s trying to fulfil her dream of working as a journalist in a women’s fashion glamour magazine which should also be the ticket for her being able to pay her credit cards’ debts. The core of the film focuses on Fisher trying to achieve the latter, mainly though an unlikely enlisting at a financial magazine (with an editor that quickly and predictably becomes a love interest), while receiving little help from her friends and parents (Joan Cusack and John Goodman; where did he disappear to all these years?) and while cheating everyone around her.
The end result amounts to the typical American romantic comedy: a plot that is less than convincing, highly unlikely events taking place with the viewer expected to take them at face value, the occasional laugh, and predictability, predictability, predictability. And oh, add shallowness to the list, too.
Yet in the end there are two and half reasons why I have found Confessions of a Shopaholic to be just a tad slightly better than the rest of the crop. The half reason is the casting of the minor roles, which includes the previously mentioned Goodman but also the always effective Kristin Scott Thomas as the French [like?] editor of the glamour magazine Fisher’s character yearns for so much. That role has obviously been modelled after Meryl Streep’s character from The Devil Wears Prada.
The other reason is that despite the incredible amount of distractions thrown our way, Confessions of a Shopaholic does say something about the meaningless nature of consumerism and the fact that it cannot lead to happiness. I suspect most people won’t absorb that message with the way it was so effectively buried between all the fashion items and the hidden commercials the film drowns it in (everyone uses a Mac in the Shopaholic world), but at least Confessions of a Shopaholic does ten times better than Sex and the City.
And last, but not least, the main reason why I did like Confessions of a Shopaholic is Isla Fisher. This fine actress is, indeed, a fine actress with what seems to be incredible talent for comedy. I would love to see more of her, especially in more meaningful films where I can actually relate to the subject matter, because Fisher seems definitely able to carry a good comedy on her shoulders by herself and do it well. As Wedding Crashers proved, she can do a better job than the so called big names of the genre in Hollywood.
Best scene: Fisher doing an hilarious dance. It’s a short side scene that’s stuck in between more important scenes, plot development wise, but it shows just how talented Fisher is.
Technical assessment: Yet another average Blu-ray, although it knows how to make all the fashion look glitzy.
Overall: I’ll be generous with Fisher and give Confessions of a Shopaholic 3 out of 5 stars.

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