Posted: 02/23/2009

 

Confessions of a Shopaholic

by Laura Tucker




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You don’t have to be a shopaholic to identify with her heroine in Confessions of a Shopaholic as she tightens the reigns of her spending to get ahold of her finances. Everyone right now, whether you have no job, a minimum wage job, or a multi million dollar earning job, is having to make some adjustments and live life a little less comfortably than they’re used to.

With a story based on the book of the same name by Sophie Kinsella, Isla Fisher (whom I often confuse with Amy Adams … is it just me?) stars as Rebecca Bloomwood, a young journalist who loves to shop perhaps a little too much. Growing up with penny pinching parents, she wanted to have cute clothes like the other girls. She now believed that a “man will never love you or treat you as good as a store.”

It’s Rebecca’s ultimate dream to write for Alette magazine, a fashion magazine that has a curious logo similar to Elle. She dreams of this while she makes time writing for a gardening magazine and charging up every card she has building up her wardrobe. On the way to an interview with Alette,, she can’t help but be lured into a store by a mannequin, buying the green scarf on the model. She doesn’t have enough money and tries to write a check for $20 at a hot dog stand to get the cash, making up a story about a sick relative that needs this green scarf. The man behind her is tired of waiting and hands her the $20 she needs.

Showing up for the interview, Rebecca finds it has been filled internally, but the receptionist tips her off that the way to Alette is up the ladder of the publisher’s other magazines. He tells her there are interviews being held right then for Successful Saving, and she and her green scarf head up to the interview. Seeing who will be interviewing her, it’s of course the man from the hot dog stand. This is how she lands a column at this money magazine written under the pseudonym of the The Girl In the Green Scarf.

The humorous part of this story, of course, is that Rebecca has no idea how to control her own money, being $16,000 in debt, and is writing a column advising others on how to save. Throughout, she even has a creditor to whom she’s indebted for $9000 pursuing her. Aside from the obvious humor, there was also some very subtle slapstick. That may sound like an oxymoron, but that’s exactly what it was. It didn’t have to be in your face; it was just nice and subtle to make you smile or slightly giggle to yourself. I have to attribute that to Fisher’s talent.

What was in our face was the potential romance of Rebecca and her boss. We know that’s what’s going to happen. It’s a romantic comedy after all. Yet it seemed to go out of its way to spell that out to us, and we really didn’t need the tipoff. The other thing that made me take pause was the casting of Rebecca’s parents, John Goodman and Joan Cusack. I see them as being different generations, and I thought Cusack might be closer in age to Fisher than Goodman. In truth, Cusack is a decade younger than Goodman and fourteen years older than Fisher, so it could happen, although it’s unlikely. Yet, the casting worked. They worked together as a couple and provided Rebecca’s parents with the warm, quirkiness they were supposed to have.

When all was said and done, I still found Confessions of a Shopaholic to have a certain innocence and warmth to it, preventing it from seeming too hokey. Again, I have to mostly give the credit to Fisher for leaving me with that, but I have to give some credit to the talents of Cusack and Goodman, more than the other costars of the film.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, as well as Troubled Hollywood, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints and Sazze, . She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com



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