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Confessions of a Shopaholic DVD Review (2-Disc DVD with Digital Copy)

Confessions of a Shopaholic movie poster Confessions of a Shopaholic

Theatrical Release: February 13, 2009 / Running Time: 104 Minutes / Rating: PG

Director: P.J. Hogan / Writers: Sophie Kinsella (books); Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, Kayla Alpert (screenplay)

Cast: Isla Fisher (Rebecca Bloomwood), Hugh Dancy (Luke Brandon), Joan Cusack (Jane Bloomwood), John Goodman (Graham Bloomwood), John Lithgow (Edgar West), Kristin Scott Thomas (Alette Naylor), Leslie Bibb (Alicia Billington), Fred Armisen (Ryan Koenig), Julie Hagerty (Hayley), Krysten Ritter (Suze), Robert Stanton (Derek Smeath), Christine Ebersole (TV Show Host), Clea Lewis (Miss Ptaszinski), Wendie Malick (Miss Korch), Lynn Redgrave (Drunken Lady at Ball), Nick Cornish (Tarquin), Stephen Guarino (Allon), Yoshiro Kono (Ryuichi), John Salley (D. Freak), Lennon Parham (Joyce), Ed Helms (Garrett E. Barton - uncredited)

Buy Confessions of a Shopaholic from Amazon.com: Single-Disc DVD 2-Disc DVD with Digital Copy Blu-ray


Based on two chick lit books by British novelist Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic tells the story of Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher), a young woman who loves to shop and has all her life. Becky's cherished pastime has gotten her into thousands of dollars of credit card debt and the situation grows desperate when the magazine she writes for folds, leaving her unemployed to boot.

Debt collectors are calling and temptation still lurks at every corner of world shopping capital New York City, but a night of tequila shots and letter-writing leads Becky to acquire a new journalism job. It's not her dream gig at fashion monthly Alette
but financial magazine Successful Saving will offer some relief and, since it belongs to the same publishing family, she figures it's a step in the right direction. More than that, it's a place for her to thrive, as her uniquely-voiced column, attributed only to "The Girl in the Green Scarf", quickly becomes a smash success for the magazine, impressing her think-outside-the-box boss Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy).

While Becky continues to grapple with the addiction of her pricey passion, standard romantic comedy turns arise. She takes a liking to Luke and helps him reprioritize his life, but there is a snooty rival love interest (Leslie Bibb). Meanwhile, Alette's famous namesake (Kristin Scott Thomas using a thick, goofy French accent) extends an invitation of employment. And there is the lingering threat of one Derek Smeath (Robert Stanton), the world's most persistent and avoided collections agent, whose existence contributes to Becky's already substantial trail of lies.

Becky Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) finds more joy in shopping than most people. Becky (Isla Fisher) and her boss Luke (Hugh Dancy) make kind of a cute couple. I wonder if the film will explore that...

Few films deserve the label "chick flick" as much as this one. Sure, most romantic comedies are guaranteed to win more female fans than male ones. But a romantic comedy whose primary subject is shopping seems to limit its audience to the ladies and gay men who are into fashion and spending. Not only am I not a woman, but I'd also rank shopping for clothes and accessories among my least favorite activities. Even being in "journalism", this movie personally offered me close to nothing.

Despite falling way outside the target audience, I found Shopaholic to be largely innocuous. The story is stupid and unbelievable. The plot developments are entirely routine. There are a number of broad comedy bits, none of which work very well. And yet, the movie is adequately performed by the sufficiently bubbly Fisher (whose natural Aussie accent goes undetected) and the plausible Dancy (who isn't asked to hide his British one). Their work plays no small part in keeping the proceedings inoffensive.

The supporting cast is comprised of many familiar faces, who American audiences (particularly older viewers) are also more likely to recognize by name than the leads. Becky's parents are played by John Goodman and Joan Cusack (who joins Hollywood's growing class of stable mothers that apparently gave birth in their early teens). Julie Hagerty of Airplane! plays a receptionist, John Lithgow an executive, "Saturday Night Live" comedian Fred Armisen a yes man, and Wendie Malick (no stranger to New York fashion magazine fiction) a stern Shopaholics Anonymous group leader. None of them really get to do much, but it's fun to see and recognize them.

Becky (Isla Fisher) lays down in a sea of a receipts and credit card statements, as all credit card debt victims do. Joan Cusack puts a smile on playing mother to someone 13 years her junior, while John Goodman remembers another time he had a daughter named Becky.

As you can probably guess, the movie neither opts to endorse or indict the designer brand lifestyle. It takes a middle-of-the-road approach, desperately hoping to win the approval of young people who can empathize with trivialized shopping debt. With its PG rating, the film stays light and airy, sparing us innuendo, profanity, and any illusion of an edge. Most prospective viewers would probably agree that works to its advantage.
But without anything to overshadow them, the shallowness and formula of it all keep this forgettable and frothy. The closest to flourish we find here are animated window mannequins beckoning Becky to come inside.

Shopaholic is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who's clearly trying to branch out from the spectacle action blockbusters and TV crime dramas for which he's known. Bruckheimer strokes his ego in a short throwaway scene of Times Square that's filled with ads for his properties, including some Disney projects that still aren't in theaters.

Having grossed a modest $44 million in domestic theaters, Confessions of a Shopaholic seems an unlikely candidate for a deluxe DVD, but this is one of three concurrent home video debuts Disney grants it. Rather than making consumers pay for bonus features (a tactic that doesn't seem apt to boost sluggish profits in this troubled economy), this is an instance where Disney appears to be harmlessly testing the changing marketplace. The differences between the single-disc DVD and this "2-Disc" DVD amount simply to a cardboard slipcover and a digital copy of the film. While the Deluxe set's list price is only three dollars higher than that of the standard DVD, retailer discounting separates them by $6 or more.

Buy Confessions of a Shopaholic: 2-Disc DVD with Digital Copy from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Closed Captioned; Extras Captioned and Subtitled
Release Date: June 23, 2009
Two single-sided discs (DVD-9 & DVD-5 DVD-ROM)
Suggested Retail Price: $32.99
Black Keepcase with Side Snaps in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available in Single-Disc DVD
and on Blu-ray Disc
Sex and the City Designer's Exclusive New Fashion Line - HSN Exclusive

VIDEO and AUDIO

Confessions of a Shopaholic appears exclusively in its 2.35:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio, a decision that could ruffle some feathers based on the dual-format route other studios often take on this kind of dumbed-down picture. The movie looks good enough, its technical polish gaining notice but not quite distinguishing it from other studio romcoms of similar scope. Par for the genre, the Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is covered top to bottom in contemporary pop songs, including a Gwen Stefani "Rich Girl" ringtone, Greg Laswell's folksy somber version of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", and an almost-clever, almost-recurring use of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab."

Working in a clothing store makes Becky want to spend in the deleted scene "Zebra Print Pants." Isla Fisher admires and slaps her rear end in the gag reel "Bloopers of a Shopaholic." Shontelle claims a dressing room next to a large, projected Isla Fisher in the "Stuck with Each Other" music video that features three sets of bars on a 4x3 TV.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

Just three bonus features are provided for standard DVD consumption. First up are four deleted scenes, which run 6 minutes and 15 seconds overall. The longest one is an arc to itself, with Becky quickly finding a part-time job in a clothing store to be personally challenging.



The others -- a vague daydream, a variation on the abrupt rooftop kiss, a workplace joke -- are too short to make sense of without commentary.

Some amusement is had in "Bloopers of a Shopaholic" (2:07), which serves up botched lines and set silliness.

Last comes the music video for end credits tune "Stuck with Each Other" (3:20), performed by Shontelle featuring rapper Akon. The pop song isn't bad. Neither is the music video, which juggles film clips with footage of the artists performing while shopping and trying clothes on. Both windowboxed and white-letterboxed within the 16:9 frame, it strangely only uses about a quarter of a 4x3 TV screen.

The disc opens with a trailer for The Proposal, an ad for "Grey's Anatomy": Season 5, and a Blu-ray promo. The Sneak Peeks menu holds these plus spots for "Samantha Who?": The Complete Second Season and Morning Light.

Against a Manhattan skyline, the DVD's main menu cycles through a collection of posed images featuring Isla Fisher in different outfits. Flashbulbs go off, suggesting she's some kind of fashion model and that the disc's producers couldn't be bothered to watch the movie and learn otherwise. The main menu loops an excerpt from Jessie James' "Blue Jeans" and secondary screens play score.

While Shopaholic lacks a chapter insert (a beast that's all but become obsolete recently), it does have a couple of worthwhile enclosures to take note of. One is the unique activation code needed for Disc 2 to be more than a shiny frisbee. The other is a booklet of ads, which holds another unique code, this one redeemable for a $10 Fashion Cash card. I'd tell you what that was, but I won't know until the site is active.

Of course best friends Suze (Krysten Ritter) and Becky (Isla Fisher) are going to be giddy whilst shopping for a wedding dress. Would you expect anything else from ditzy chick flick chicks? Just when Becky (Isla Fisher) thinks she's got everything under control, she recognizes a familiar voice coming from the man who looks like a tall Gilbert Huph.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Confessions of a Shopaholic is a pretty unremarkable film. Though short on humor, intelligence, and coherence, it's definitely watchable and leaves no terrible aftertaste. If you're a big fan of the cast, chick flicks, or designer shopping outside your budget, by all means, give this a look. Otherwise, pass.

If you're already planning to buy this comedy on DVD, going one-disc or two-disc simply comes down to deciding if a slipcover and a digital copy are worth an extra $5 or so to you. I'm guessing not.

Buy Confessions of a Shopaholic: 1-Disc DVD / 2-Disc DVD / Blu-ray / Book / Soundtrack CD

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Related Reviews:
New to DVD: He's Just Not That Into You Army Wives: The Complete Second Season Revolutionary Road Inkheart
Starring Isla Fisher: Wedding Daze The Lookout Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who | Starring Hugh Dancy: King Arthur
Happy-Go-Lucky Shopgirl Run Fatboy Run Beverly Hills Chihuahua Paul Blart: Mall Cop Sex and the City
Joan Cusack: Ice Princess Kit Kittredge: An American Girl | Leslie Bibb: Popular: The Complete Second Season Iron Man
John Goodman: Speed Racer | Kristin Scott Thomas: The Other Boleyn Girl | From Writer Tim Firth: Kinky Boots
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer: Flashdance (Special Collector's Edition) Remember the Titans (Director's Cut) Deja Vu

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Reviewed June 17, 2009.



Text copyright 2009 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2009 Touchstone Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and Touchstone Home Entertainment.
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