…or how to max out your plastic to fugliness.
Confessions of a Shopaholic has its funny parts and it’s not without a heart. Perhaps this film could not have been timelier, what with bank foreclosures, job losses, and scarcity of credit. Isla Fisher carries the role as a shopping-obsessed gal who dreams of working for a fashion magazine but lands a spot in a publication for, of all ironies, saving money. But because the magazine operates under the same publishing umbrella, she devices a way to get one foot in via a disastrous interview and a letter to the editor written while she was drunk with vodka. The magazine’s editor thinks she fits right in not because she’s a gifted writer nor is a money management wizard; she just knows how to shop and what it feels like to discover that a pair of Gucci boots is really not as fabulous as retailers want her to believe. If one is not careful enough, she could land one that is made in China and has only 5% cashmere.
So it’s ok, Ms. Bloomwood can work her way up the corporate ladder to the Shopaholic’s version of Vogue and to the heart of Smart Savings editor who is charming in a disarming, ruffled manner (which makes The Colonel and I green with envy of Claire Danes) and who knows how to samba and speak Prada.
Physical comedy can take a film only so far, and in the case of Shopaholic, it wasn’t that far at all. (The Spanish dance is hilarious, though.) There wasn’t even enough fashion to make up for the disjointed storytelling. Let’s say that she grew up with the sensible stuff that her thrifty mom bought her, so when she came of the right age to own a credit card, she made sure to make up for all the years spent wishing for the nice stuff that in this film always came in fuchsia or other loud colors, shocking prints, poor craftsmanship, and cheap materials. Apparently, one’s capacity for amassing debt is indirectly proportional to good fashion sense.
But style is not what this film is all about. It’s about the banality of retail therapy and the dangers of borrowing beyond one’s capacity to pay. That, and to me, Hugh Dancy.