10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2009
Seeing the preview in theaters of Confessions of a Shopaholic gave me the impression of a cheesy and obnoxious movie I was not about to see. I wanted to give it a chance, so I went with a friend one night and had a blast. It's one of those movies that defeats any pretense because the person behind the commercial merely did a bad job.
The best part of the movie is Isla Fischer and her millions of clothes. She is such an adorable, bubbly person who is inspirational, motivated, and confident. Occasionally she embarrasses herself without realizing and can bury herself under mountains of debt, but she emerges from the moments of confrontation as a stronger person.
Maybe I should get this checked out, but I found myself agreeing with everything she described about the euphoria of shopping. The clothes are out there and the compilations are unique, and I was drooling the whole time. Not to mention her very impressive and handsome beau.
One aspect I accredit the movie for and what somewhat lacks is the relationship between the main character and her boss. I'm the glad their romance didn't dominate the storyline because, ultimately, it became a story about a person finding out what she truly wants from life. And Hugh Dancy is a strong enough actor to portray more than one emotion in the little screen time he has compared to Isla. The only major cliche I caught was the lie, revealing/betrayal, makeup stage of the romantic comedy relationship.
Confessions of a Shopaholic is a fun romp I'd like to see more than once. It's goofy and funny, sweet, and a very feel good movie. I'm surprised the ratings on here are reduced to a three!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Sophia Kinsella (a pen name for writer Madeline Wickham) is known for her "Shopaholic" novels which have been a hit in the UK. Having published a total of five novels, Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films has a film based on the first two novels ("Confessions of a Shopaholic" and "Shopaholic Takes Manhattan) released back in 2001 and 2002.
Taking on the directorial reigns of the film is P.J. Hogan ("My Best Friends Wedding") and a screenplay by writers Tracey Jackson ("The Other End of the Line"), Tim Firth ("Calendar Girls") and Kayla Alpert (who produced many episodes for the TV series "Ally McBeal"). Music for the film is by James Newton Howard ("The Sixth Sense", "Pretty Woman", "Primal Fear", etc.) and cinematography by Jo Willems ("30 Days of Night" and "Rocket Science").
The film would feature many all-star talents which include Isla Fisher ("Wedding Crashers", "Definitely, Maybe" and "The Lookout"), Hugh Dancy ("Black Hawk Down", "Ella Enchanted" and "Basic Instinct 2'), Krysten Ritter ("Frost", "27 Dresses" and "Gilmore Girls"), Joan Cusack ("War, Inc.", "Say Anything", "The School of Rock" and "Chicken Little"), John goodman ("Rosanne", "Cars and "Bee Movie"), John Lithgow ("Dexter, "Dreamgirls" and "3rd Rock from the Sun") and Kristin Scott Thomas ("The Golden Compass", "Mission Impossible" and "I Loved You So Long").
The film revolves around Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher), a writer for a gardening magazine who lives with her friend Suze (Krysten Ritter) and is known for her overuse of her credit cards (around a dozen of them) which she constantly uses in order to purchase the latest designer clothing in Manhattan. Her shopping habits are obsessive and to the point that her debt is just incredibly high and she has bills that have not been opened and unpaid. Needless to say, she's in financial trouble but yet continues to shop like there's no tomorrow.
As a child, Rebecca has always been enamored by clothes but due to her fiscally conservative parents, always had to get the cheaper clothing and now as an adult, only wants the best. Her goal is to work for her favorite fashion magazine "Alette" but finds out during the interview that Editor Alette Naylor (Kristin Scott Thomas) has hired socialite Alicia Billington (Leslie Bibb) for the job.
But instead of sulking about not getting the job, Rebecca receives good information from the office assistant that "Successful Saving" is hiring and because its part of the same family that publishes "Alette", she can work her way to the top. So, Rebecca interviews for the position and is interviewed by new editor Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy) who tries to learn more about her financing skills. Having really no experience, she fumbles her way during the interview and claiming she knows about finance and that she knows Finnish (which she doesn't know at all).
While returning back to her regular job, she finds out that her job is folding their business and without a job, she will be unable to pay her credit card bills. And because she has maxed out may of them and doesn't make all that much, she continually receives a message from debt collector Derek Smeath (Robert Stanton).
While her friend Suze tries to get her focused on paying her bills and getting Rebecca to take responsibility for her debt, the two get drunk and she accidentally sends a letter with a sample story to Luke Brandon, while accidentally sending the letter mean for Luke to Allete Magazine.
She receives a call a few days later from Luke that hew as impressed by the story and is hired to be a writer at "Succesful Saving". Using her knowledge of shopping, she utilizes her skill as a writer and uses the name of "The Girl in the Green Scarf". Her article becomes a success and makes the fledgling financial magazine to become a hit.
But with her debt collector doing what he can to get his money from Rebecca, and Rebecca having to wing a lie that she knows about finance, will she be able to keep this charade up for long? And to make things worse, will her shopaholic mindset hurt her as she continues to pile debt?
"CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" is released on Blu-ray with 2-discs. The first disc features the film and special features while the second disc features a digital copy of the film.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" is featured in 1080p with an aspect ratio of (2:40:1). If there is one thing that caught my attention about "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC", the film tries to showcase many vibrant colors. So, there are many scenes that just looks quite gorgeous. For the most part, the majority of the film receives another solid transfer but there are some scenes that do have quite a bit of grain and also, some scenes that tend to overdo it with the color of red and amber colors. But overall, the picture quality of "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" is very good and considering Touchstone is part of Disney, all Blu-ray releases from their various companies have all been solid.
As for audio, "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" is featured in English 5.1 DTS-HD (48 kHz/24-bit) and also in French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film actually does a great job by use of panning audio from speaker to speaker but for the most part, the film is front and center channel heavy. Dialogue is clear and for this film, one of the big factors in audio is the utilization of music. There is some good LFE bass when it comes to music being used and overall, the soundtrack comes alive. From the busy shops, to the sample sales in which you can hear the women fighting over clothing but it's the music that I was impressed with how alive it was and setting a stylish pace for this film.
As for subtitles, English SDH, French and Spanish is offered.
"CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" comes with a few short features featured in 1080p or 480i, English 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital and English SDH, French and/or Spanish subtitles. Included are:
* BEHIND THE FASHION - This segment features a total of six short special features. Included in this section are:
- Wardrobe by Patricia Field - (3:01) How Jerry Bruckheimer was happy to have Patricia Field ("Sex and the City" and "Devil Wears Prada") involved as the costume designer for this film. Interview with Patricia Field.
- Temple of Shopping - (2:32) How the film was shot at the 5th Avenue Boutique, Henri Bendel and the designs created for thet set.
- The Green Scarf (1:33) Costume designer and stylist Patricia Field discusses how the green scarf was used on the film and how she was inspired by a Dolce & Gabanna scarf.
- New York: Fashion Central- (2:34) A featurette about how awesome it was too shoot in New York. From the shops in Manhattan to capturing the beauty of the city on film.
- Sample Sale Madness - (1:58) Around 200-300 women were hired to take part in the "Sample Sale" segment of the film. The women went all out in their craziness during the sale and how actress Isla Fisher enjoyed shooting this scene.
- Window Shopping - (1:50) The film features a creative use of the mannequins which communicate and try to entice Rebecca Bloomwood to shop at their store. This featurette shows us how models had to wear body suits and were CG'd to look like mannequins.
* Deleted Scenes - (6:19) A total of four deleted scenes which include "19 Scarf, Scarf, Scarf", "Zepbra Print Pants", "The Unexpected Kiss" and "Plaid".
* Bloopers of a Shopaholic - (2:07) The bloopers from the set of "Confessionso of a Shopaholic".
* Music Videos: This segment features a total of three music videos which include:
- "Stuck with Each Other" by Shontelle feat. Akon (3:25)
- "Accessory" by Jordyn Taylor (3:23)
- "Take Time to Love" by Trey Songz (2:32)
I tend to enjoy many films that utilizes fashion and designer clothing into the film. So, I had high hopes for "Confessions of a Shopaholic" because it was a fun and stylish looking film. In fact, for the most part, I did enjoy the film as we know that the character of Rebecca Bloomwood would eventually be caught for her lying and that there would be a cost or some type of way she would learn about her obsessive shopping habits.
But the problem with the film are the numerous farfetched and contrive plots. You would think that a financial magazine would hire a writer based on a strong financial portfolio. Then there's the debt collector and we get to see how far a debt collector would go. Granted, some debt collectors are known for their slimy tactics but in this film, it takes things to a new level.
In a way, two things that work against the comedy is unfortunately, in a bad economy, where people are depending on their credit cards or other ways for money for survival, you have a character who has a dozen credit cards that she doesn't use for survival but for buying expensive designer brand merchandise. Second, where you hope to see an empowered woman at the end becomes a woman who is just too ditsy to even think of a professional working for a major finance magazine. As farfetched some plots were in the film, how this character is redeemed is again, too over-the-t0p.
Granted, "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" is a romantic comedy but at least with a "DEVIL WEARS PRADA", there is a likable woman who gets caught up in the fashion world but through pain, becomes a stronger. Even, "Legally Blonde" had some redeeming factors with the main character.
With two novels being covered in the first film, sometimes I wonder how much storyline from the novels were actually skipped in the film adaption. Having not read any of the novels, was Rebecca Bloomwood like this throughout the two novels? Was their redemption for her character?
I also felt that perhaps the film could have used the talent (and there are a good number of well-known talent) a bit more wisely.
As for the Blu-ray release, so far anything related to Disney that has been released in High Definition have all been solid. "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" is a film where color plays a primary part in the film and this film is quite colorful and vibrant. The audio is fun and for all films that utilize fashion, the music soundtrack plays a big part and in this case, music plays a very big part in "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC". I enjoyed the use of audio especially how my subwoofer started working in tandem with the front speakers for certain songs. So, that was cool to see! Also, I was quite happy to see a digital copy included with this release.
Despite the number of special features included on the Blu-ray disc, I was surprised that there was no in depth behind-the-scenes featurette. Most of the special features included are quiet short and are at under two minutes.
"CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" starts off very well in its first half but somehow, unfortunately, the over-the-top situations start to make things a bit too farfetched and contrived for my tastes and the overall storyline was a bit predictable. But by no means is the film a bad. There's no denying that filming in New York City has given this film such beauty and the overall fashion presentation makes this film quite stylish and cool.
In the end, "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" was an enjoyable popcorn flick which you can enjoy for its crazy humor, stylish presentation and its crazy characters. Isla Fisher is absolutely charming and fun but its probably best to watch this romantic comedy without being serious minded.
But as long as you enjoy its craziness, you'll find "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC" to be quite entertaining and fun!
Film gets a three stars, picture and audio quality I'll give it an additional star.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2009
I saw this movie without reading the book first and I loved it. Isla Fisher is HILARIOUS as Rebecca Bloomwood and she is definitely an actress to watch out for. Isla plays the part of Rebecca, a shopaholic trying to avoid a debt collector, extremely well. She makes Rebecca seem cute, innocent, funny, smart, and of course, fashionable.
Read with caution, as I may have basically the whole movie written down here:
The story of this movie is basically that when shopaholic Rebecca Bloomwood (how fun is it to say that?) is left without a job, she goes to work at a finance magazine called Successful Saving, hoping to use that to get to where she really wishes to be: Alette, a fashion magazine. Rebecca advises people on how to use their money and as she uses her own shopping experiences to write her articles, Rebecca gains much popularity and becomes known as "The Girl in the Green Scarf". Rebecca also falls in love with her boss, Luke Brandon. There is a dancing scene relating to this in the movie that had me crying from laughing so hard, it was that funny.
All the action happens while Rebecca, with the help of her loyal friend Suze, tries desperately to avoid Derek Smeath, a debt collector intent on getting back the thousands that Rebecca owes. It is hilarious to watch Rebecca as she makes up dozens of excuses, (I broke my leg, my aunt is in the hospital, my aunt fell out of a skydiving accident, I'm in Finland) attempting to avoid this man.
After watching the movie, I read the book and I understand why there are people unhappy with the movie. The movie is very different from the book, but it is in no way less enjoyable. The plots of both the movie and the book are still very good and the movie still attains the fun spirit of the book.
This movie is sweet, it is funny, and it will make you smile. The music of this movie is the perfect soundtrack to Rebecca Bloomwood's story and the fun music adds to the enjoyment of the movie. I recommend this movie for a for a friends night or if you just want to have some good, simple fun. You will not be disappointed!
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2009
We start with Rebecca Bloomwood, the charming and absolutely adorable Isla Fisher. She has a knack for labels and finding sales in order to own them. She uses the analogy of falling in love and compares it to the satisfaction of trading plastic for goods. Heart melts like butter when she sees a store, and she always dreamed of using her magic cards. At one point we see her buying a 120 scarf and splitting it over five cards and still coming up 23 dollars short. When she realizes she has a problem, over 12 credit cards, she also realizes her boss has rolled over on the company and she no longer has a job. The hillarious tragedies that ensue over these many complications only get better as the debt collectors find her. Very cute movie, good for taking your mind off of things, especially in these hard economic times.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I almost didn't watch this movie. One of my friends detested it and I trust her judgment and consider her tastes and mine to be pretty similar. However, she has read the book and loved it while I have not read any of the Kinsella novels.
I'm writing my review from cluelessness over how the story played out in the book and without comparison between book and film.
I loved this movie. Aside from a handful of a-words, several oh God's, I believe an s-word and a scene of a couple in bed (just there, not doing anything) this is a clean and charming movie. A scene of credit card bill totaling performed while tossing back shots of tequila ended up being a bad idea when a wrong letter is mailed to the wrong person -- which could make for a great discussion opener on the consequences of drinking. I think I can recommend it for family viewing, not only because of what it lacks (sex and over the top innuendo and crudeness) but for what it portrays. The main character (Fischer) has a big problem that she has to come to grips with once her life falls down around her darling half-off boots. She struggles and lies and makes some really poor choices but sucks it up and chooses to grow up, becoming an excellent and charming role model in the process.
Isla Fisher is an expressive actress and her character Rebecca Bloomwood reminded me of Elle from Legally Blonde, a smart-cookie bubblehead with a big, sweet heart. Hugh Dancy is aw-shucks with a British accent hunky. The elements of romance aren't totally believable, this is chick-lit translated to chick-flick after all, but sweet and fun. The plot line has predictability since it follows those genre guidelines. A lot of physical humor, some fun special effects (talking/gesturing mannequins), and lots of color and textures make it visually appealing. We rented it because my daughter wanted to see it. I liked Confessions so much that I watched it a second time when she invited friends over to view it. Out of four picky females and one male, the consensus was that there will be some copies purchased for personal film libraries, including us, we will be buying this movie.
Bottom line. If you've read the book, keep looking at reviews to determine if this novel to film will work for you. If you haven't read it and are looking for a fun, sweet film reminiscent of Legally Blonde, you could do far worse.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I am a big fan of Kinsella's "Shopaholic" books, so I was hoping that this film would bring some of that humor and the sheer audacity of the characters to the big screen. And while I enjoyed the performances of Isla Fisher as Becky Bloomwood and Hugh Dancy as her boss/love-interest, as usual, the translation to film left out some of what made these books fabulous.
For one thing, taking snippets from each book and trying to position everything into one feature--well, there is just so much you can do in a couple of hours of movie production.
But, to give the film its due, choosing Isla Fisher as Becky was "spot on," as the British say. She is charming, delightful, and after watching her for awhile, you forget that the film is not really as much like the books as you might hope. And Hugh Dancy--well, he's a "hottie," so it was definitely fun to watch him!
If you want a couple hours of sheer fun, and especially if you haven't read the books, you will find Confessions of a Shopaholic delightful. Four stars worth.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2009
I know, I know.....the movies are never that faithful to the books. I know they need to "tweek" the original stories for the movie version, etc., blah, blah, blah. But if the only thing you are going to walk away with from the original story is the names of the characters, the title for the film and like one accurate scene that correlates with the book, then why bother with basing it on the book in the first place?
Don't get me wrong, sometimes the movies bring the books alive (I still haven't found that yet, but I'm trying to be reasonable), but if you're going to rewrite the entire thing....I just don't get it. And its not even funnier or better! That would be justifiable, I guess, but its hard to improve on the real thing since Kinsella is brilliant. This was a disaster!
Becky is a normal person, in a job she doesn't like and she has a shopping problem. She isn't a ditz like they portray in the movie. She has always worked for a financial magazine and you don't get the impression she dresses like a twelve year old playing dress-up with her mother's clothes.
The book is funny, the story is funny and believable. Why switch everything around? It wasn't funny. And why couldn't they leave it set in England? I don't get that switch either. It would have worked better the way it was originally written, as Becky uncovers fraud at a major banking institution......gee, sound familiar? At least the book shows that she's not stupid just oblivious to her talents (aside from finding a sale).
HUGH DANCY is great, funny (with what little they give him to work with) and I feel the talented cast could not salvage this movie. Read the books they are classics and you will understand the characters and situations better, as well as laugh incessantly! Why can't they just stick with what works? If the books were such a hit, don't they think its for a reason?????????
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is a young career girl who feels clothes and fashion define her. She has credit cards and overwhelming debt, but cannot control her urge to shop. Even store mannequins speak to her, begging her to buy more.
Rebecca wants a job at a fashion magazine. However, through quirky movie luck, she inadvertently finds a job at a financial magazine giving out financial advice on how to stay out of debt. Now this premise is funny but the movie only gives mild smiles. Isla Fisher does her best to save the movie through a free and happy personality, but can't quite do it. The debt collector Derek Smeath (Robert Stanton) is the movie's villain and he is dodged successfully by Rebecca until she is on national TV giving out advice on savings.
The movie is ironically timely with the global meltdown about the time of release - the sins of debt revealed - and Derek Smeath is standing up for ethical and moral responsibility so it was hard to dismiss him as evil.
There is a "I Love Lucy" physical comedy, and look for the camera (crazy dumb redhead), but you wonder how anyone could be so dense. Rebecca is a bouncing bubbly air-head, selfish, spoiled, clothes horse, who has no control over her finances or life. The few laughs you have are hard to come by.
I was impressed with the list of actors - all did their best - but they could not save this weak comedy: Kristen Scott Thomas, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, John Lithgow and Luke Brandon. (Fisher also did her best, but sad script)
By the way, Luke Brandon played her boss and the romantic interest who never gave up on Rebecca. He was the man who found her good points(?).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I watched this because I like Hugh Dancy and though I'm not a great fan of Isla Fisher, I decided to give the movie a chance. It's actually not too bad, entertaining in a mindless sort of way and fun escapist fare. Isla Fisher plays Rebecca Bloomwood, a journalist who aspires to work for a prestigious fashion magazine whilst struggling (though denying) her mounting credit card debt. Rebecca is addicted to high-end shopping you see, and has no control over her spending habits. A chance encounter with Hugh Dancy eventually lands her a job at Money Saving Magazine with Dancy as her boss. This is far from Rebecca's dream job but she figures she can use this stint to get to her dream job. Along the way, romantic entanglements ensue, complications arise especially with a sinister and persistent debt collector on Rebecca's trail, and her life slowly but surely falls apart.
The plot is predictable, and there is nothing remotely intellectual about this movie. It is just a light, frothy confection of a chick flick and is not meant to be taken seriously. Isla Fisher does a good job as the vivacious shopaholic and shares credible on-screen chemistry with Hugh Dancy. Recommended as a rental.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2010
I didn't have high expectations for this movie, but I was curious about it because I personally struggle with compulsive spending. I didn't even know it was based on a book series... but I'll definitely be reading those now that I know! Especially since virtually everyone thinks the books are better. (Update: I tried to read the book and couldn't finish it. I couldn't stand Becky!)
The movie is slapstick comedy (like "I Love Lucy") with some deeper moments sprinkled here and there to bring it back to planet Earth. The plot is totally unrealistic and WAY over-the-top, but often laugh-out-loud funny. And for me personally, it was also meaningful because of the subject matter.
I was very impressed with how accurately the movie depicted spending addictions, credit cards, and debt collectors. It's clear that many of the negative reviews were written by people unfamiliar with the realities of compulsive debting and spending.
Some reviewers derided her spending problem as being caused by an underlying character defect which made it impossible for them to want to 'root' for her. But it's an addiction akin to an alcohol or food addiction. It's not simply selfishness or airheadedness; it can be present in people who are otherwise very giving, caring and level-headed. The feelings she and the other overspenders depict, and describe in their meetings, are very real... though at times lampooned in the movie for the comedic value (which I found funny and not offensive at all; in fact, it felt good to be able to laugh about it). The back-and-forth conversations she had with herself about 'to buy or not to buy' were hauntingly familiar. "I need these gloves because... it's winter, and I have hands! Yes!"
Many reviews also felt the debt collector was the one who was "standing up for what's right" and didn't like it that he was portrayed as being a jerk. I'm not a big credit card user, but we've had some past medical debts, and I've read a lot about debt and credit, including Debtor's Anonymous literature. In reality, collection agencies are extremely aggressive and can be very underhanded. They do exactly what the guy tells his colleague on the phone to do to be effective in getting money to get the commission. Yes, they do work on commission, and yes, they will pressure and manipulate and lie to try to collect. They will call several times daily unless they receive a written notice to stop, after which legally they have to stop. (I am not sure, though, that they'd ever actually show up at your door.) So it's not as black and white as people might think who don't have experience or knowledge of the issue.
As for the thought-provoking moments... Most of all, it was the very first scene which really got to me. I actually had to pause the movie and go cry! It's a scene from Becky's childhood, and I'd had a very similar childhood experience. It brought me right back even though it's been almost 30 years. It also touched on something that is pointed out in Debtors Anonymous: that being overly miserly with money is not good either and can lead to feelings of deprivation that one may try to overcome by overspending.
The other thing that really got to me is near the end, when the parents offer to sell something to help their daughter get out of debt. She tells them not to sell it because the item "totally defines you." Her father says something to the effect of, "The only thing that defines me is you and your mom." Compulsive spenders tend to feel that they are not whole or complete without being able to get the things they want. Her father's reply captures the healthy mentality: that material things do NOT define us.
Oh, and if you love fashion you'll love this movie for the fashion. I watched it again recently with a fashionista friend of mine. She salivated over the outfits in every scene, and said it was making her want to go shopping. But by the end, she told me the movie's plot made her NOT want to go shopping and just be grateful for the nice things she already has.
Overall, this movie for me was a mixture of some laugh-out-loud moments, some rolling my eyes 'yea right' moments, and some deeper thought-provoking moments. I don't think most people would find it thought-provoking unless they struggle with overspending. But if they do, this movie is good therapy.
To close, I want to share an excerpt from the 4-star review by Lori M. Reece because she is spot on (I hope it's OK to do this):
"Many reviewers seem to feel as though the movie glorifies materialism. I feel that the movie's actual moral is to ultimately show just how unimportant material possessions actually are. This, if you ask me, is quite reassuring in these trying economic times."