Starring: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Kristen Scott Thomas
Directed by: P.J. Hogan (“My Best Friend’s Wedding”)
Written by: Tracey Jackson (“The Guru”), Tim Firth (“Kinky Boots”), and Kayla Alpert (debut)
Give credit to screenwriters Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, and Kayla Alpert. No, not for their dopey adaptation of author Sophie Kinsella’s work, but for figuring out a way to incorporate both her books (“Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Shopaholic Takes Manhattan”) into only one movie. Now, we don’t have to sit through a second one.
In “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” rising star Isla Fisher (“Wedding Crashers) stars as Rebecca Bloomwood, a Manhattan reporter who spends her days drooling over Gucci bags and dodging credit collectors because of her unhealthy addiction to shopping. (“They said I was a valued customer, now they send me hate mail” is the funniest line Fisher delivers in the entire movie).
With 12 credit cards maxed out, Rebecca finds herself over $9,000 in debt just when the magazine she writes for goes bankrupt. Setting her sights to work at one of the most prominent fashion magazines in the city (who better to write about clothes than someone who has so many?), Rebecca, instead, ends up landing a job at a financial publication when she impresses the editor (Hugh Dancy) with her out-of-the-box ideas on topics most people would find tedious.
After only one column, Rebecca becomes a star journalist and everyone wants to meet her. While she manages to rub elbows with publishers and work her way to the top, Rebecca lives in fear that someone will find out she is giving financial advice to her readers when she, too, is living in debt.
While Fisher has proven she can hold her own in comedies like “Wedding Crashers,” there simply isn’t enough material in this faux “Sexy and the City” episode for her to perform to that level. Fisher is better than exaggerated slapstick, but there’s nothing here to showcase her natural talent. In one of the funnier scenes of “Shopaholic,” Fisher reacts to how ugly a bridesmaid’s dress looks on her. With a few squeals and some hilarious facial expressions, she makes the scene work.
But those occasions are too few and far between in “Shopaholic.” It’s disappointing since the film is directed by P.J. Hogan, who helmed one of the best rom coms of the 90s in “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” It’s less surprising when you find out producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s name is attached. Just when you thought he couldn’t possibly ruin anymore film genres, Bruckheimer manages to aimlessly wander into no man’s land and will definitely wander out a few dollars richer. Somebody stop him before he figures out what a musical comedy is.