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Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
Touchstone Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/23/2009
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/19/2009
Who do we blame? I guess that Bridget Jones's Diary would be an easy target. Or how about thosetraveling pants sisters? No matter where you want to point the finger, the popularity of chick-lit and the massive appeal of chick-flicks has combined and we are now seeing more books aimed at women being turned into movies. These books are usually known for being fluffy and fun. Can that kind of energy be translated into a film? Let's check out Confessions of a Shopaholic and see.
Confessions of a Shopaholic tells the story of Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher). Rebecca lives in New York and she is fulfilling her dreams...sort of. She wants to be a journalist and she's writing for a gardening magazine, although she hates it. Her real dream is to write for a fashion periodical. Her other passion is shopping for the latest designer clothes, which she does habitually. The problem is that she's maxed out her credit cards. Her roommate, Suze (Krysten Ritter), helps Rebecca with the rent, but she is still in debt for over $16,000 and creditors call at all hours. She goes for an interview at fashion mag Alette, but when she learns that the position has been filled, she tries another publication in the building, Successful Saving. After a mix-up, editor Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy) hires her. Suze is repulsed by the idea that someone as deeply in debt as Rebecca would accept a post at a financial magazine, but her blissfully ignorant prosaic style soon catches on with the public and she's a hit. But, can she keep her financial past hidden from her colleagues, especially Luke, to whom she's become attracted.
When Confessions of a Shopaholic was released earlier this year, many critics attacked it for having the audacity to arrive in the midst of an economic recession. Scanning these reviews, the critics attack the movie for having the insensitivity to tell the story of someone who is in debt over their heads when so many people are dealing with a credit-crunch. There was also the idea that a movie shouldn't show someone who is so frivolous with their money. This thinking is ignorant and short-sighted. Don't these critics know anything about the movies released during The Great Depression? Many of those films showed rich and glamorous people doing things which were far out of reach for the common man. Instead of attacking this movie, we should all protest the films which portray typical middle-class American's as people who live is huge houses, have several cars, travel extensively, and still never seem to have any money for emergencies.
If we are going attack Confessions of a Shopaholic, let's attack it for being such a mediocre and lifeless movie. The movie is actually based on two books by author Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan. I haven't read either book, but scanning the synopses of both, it looks as if (as usual), a lot has been changed. While neither book sounds especially deep, it sounds as if some interesting plot points were condensed to create the bland script for this film.
The issue here is that we've seen all of this before. Rebecca is a combination of Carrie Bradshaw fromSex and the City and Ugly Betty. She's a fashion fan who is more concerned with her wardrobe than with her finances (ala Carrie). And she's the opposite of Betty, as she wants to write about fashion, but is stuck somewhere else. She lies her way into a job and must keep a secret from everyone. We then learn that Luke has a secret as well. It's as if screenwriters Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, and Kayla Alpert took the two novels and placed them into a blender with as many cliches as possible.
The fact that Confessions of a Shopaholic is such a "been there, done that" movie is disappointing due to the talent involved. Director P.J. Hogan helmed the equally derivative My Best Friend's Wedding. The difference is that that film was loaded with enough quirkiness (just look at the rehearsal dinner scene) to make us forget that it was just another Julia Roberts movie. The only unique touch here is the way in which certain store decorations act when Rebecca is near. (Actually, this part of the movie is either creative or really scary -- I haven't decided yet.) Isla Fisher brings a palpable amount of bubbliness to her role and she seems to be game at throwing herself into the presumably comedic situations, but she can't save the movie. I can only recommend this movie to those who watched Sex and the City simply to see the clothes.
Confessions of a Shopaholic hides from debt collectors onBlu-ray Disc courtesy of Touchstone Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. This may be one of the worst looking Blu-ray Discs that I've seen. The image is notably grainy throughout the film. Sometimes parts of the screen, most notably the bottom, are very blurry. There is artifacting, which I rarely see on Blu-rays, and the skin tones don't look very good. On the plus side, the colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track brings us nice stereo effects, especially during street or crowd scenes, which have nice stereo separation. The party scenes provide good surround sound, as do the musical cues. Some of the music brings nice bass.
The Confessions of a Shopaholic Blu-ray Disc contains a smattering of extras. "Behind the Fashion" (16 minutes total) is divided into six segments, each of which look at a different aspect of the clothing in the film. Unfortunately, there's no PLAY ALL option. We get comments from Costume Designer Patricia Field, a look at the decorations in the stores, shopping in New York, a look at the green scarf, and the shooting of the sample sale scene. It's good that all of this is brief, but we don't get a lot of good background info here. The Disc contains four DELETED SCENES which run about 6 minutes. The only interesting thing here is a scene in which Rebecca gets a part-time job. We get a 2 minute BLOOPER REEL. The Disc features three MUSIC VIDEOS, "Stuch with Each Other" by Shontelle featuring Akon, "Acessory" by Jordyn Taylor, and "Takes Time to Love" by Trey Songz.
Touchstone Home Entertainment has also brought Confessions of a Shopaholic to DVD. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. For once, the DVD looks better than the Blu-ray Disc. The image doesn't have the grain or artifacting as seen on the BD. The colors are good, but the picture is dark. The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good, as are the surround sound effects. The various crowd scenes provide some nice mulit-channel effects which fill the speakers.
The only extras on the DVD are the deleted scenes, the bloopers, and the Shontelle music video.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long