Thursday, July 16, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Isla Fisher plays Rebecca Bloomwood, who doesn't have many talents except for one: she can shop. And, apparently, she can bluff, which is how she gets a job with a struggling money magazine (think Money magazine, only without all the subscribers).

Her innovative comparisons of APR to consumerism earn her a column where she shows how people should practice frugality. Except that she doesn't, and she can't.

Those young women watching this movie will smile knowingly when Rebecca can't resist the latest pair of boots even though she has nowhere to wear them. However, when we compare this film to very similar The Devil Wears Prada, we see that the script for Shopaholic can't really compare. There's very little wit, and we're left with a rather dreary tale of a woman who can't stop consuming.

Still, I did smile and I did laugh, particularly when Rebecca joins an AA group just for shopaholics -- there are a couple of very funny scenes with this group. And John Goodman as her father is always good for a chuckle.

On the whole, if you don't have a particularly witty script in a comedy, you have to depend on physical situations to make you smile, and you have to like the players. A lot. Fortunately, Isla Fisher is very winning, very charming and a genuinely funny comedian, even though her character is stupid, in her portrayal as a young woman whose dreams are bigger than her pocketbook. Shopaholic is much better than the awful chick-flick fare currently out there, but not nearly as good as it could have been.

I'm torn about the thumb's up/thumb's down ranking for Shopaholic. If you don't mind putting your expectations far below a movie like Prada, you might enjoy this romp.

Thumb's up.


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