If Carrie Bradshaw met fellow Manhattanite, journalist, shoe-lover and big dreamer Rebecca Bloomwood of "Confessions of a Shopaholic," she'd say, "Now THERE'S a superficial girl."
The critical consensus says the timing is all wrong for a frothy comedy about a bubbly gal who's addicted to shopping and has maxed out all her credit cards. Tell you what, there's never been an era in which this movie wouldn't suck.
From the endless shopping montages to the lame, bad-bridesmaid-dress humor to the obligatory zany best friend to the boring stiff of a leading man, "Confessions of a Shopaholic" plays like a knockoff of better films in this genre, such as "The Devil Wears Prada" or the first "Legally Blonde."
As played by the tiny, curvy, wildly energetic and very appealing Isla Fisher, Rebecca is an aspiring fashion journalist who is addicted to shopping like Faye Dunaway was hooked on the drink in "Barfly." It consumes her. Rebecca cannot pass a window display without the mannequins literally coming to life and urging her to buy-buy-buy. (It's a creepy special effect the first time we see it. And the second. And the third. This movie pounds every joke into the ground.) She maxes out her credit cards, she avoids a relentless debt collector, she attends Shoppers' Anonymous meetings and she squeals orgasmically when she sees the perfect scarf/pair of shoes/dress/whatever.
Rarely has a movie displayed such little knowledge about journalism, but boy would I love to live in a world where a single column in a financial magazine can generate international buzz and turn the writer into a superstar. Thanks to a contrived setup that would embarrass the hackiest of sitcom writers, Rebecca blunders her way into a job at a financial magazine run by the dashing but utterly bland Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy), who apparently has nothing better to do than mentor his new writer for hours, even days, at a time. Rebecca knows nothing about finance, but she uses shopping as a metaphor to explain complicated money matters----and everyone falls for it and falls for her. Her simplistic little column makes her a sensation in the worlds of journalism and finance.
But even as Rebecca doles out common sense financial advice, she's falling deeper into debt due to her Compulsive Shopping Disorder. Isn't that crazy! She's writing a financial column BUT SHE'S IN DEBT! Wa ha ha ha ha.
Except there's nothing really funny about that.
Rebecca also has to contend with a bunch of stock supporting players, including the best friend who wants her to wear a hideous bridesmaid dress, her thrifty parents (John Goodman and Joan Cusack, two fine actors who do not bring their A games), a bitchy rival (Leslie Bibb) and the legendary editor of the fashion magazine where Rebecca really wants to work.
The editor is played by Kristin Scott-Thomas, one of my favorite actresses. Even though Scott-Thomas is fluent in French, she somehow manages to speak in a bad French accent. Maybe it's an elaborate in-joke. I don't know and I don't care. All I know is after watching "He's Just Not That Into You" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic" within the same week, I need to get my man-game back fast. Somebody pass me a beer, a cigar and a deck of cards, and introduce me to a woman who doesn't spend every waking moment obsessing over love and/or fashion.