Confessions of a Shopaholic
PG
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +3

Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy. Written by Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, Kayla Alpert. Directed by P. J. Hogan.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In the glamorous world of New York City, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) dreams of working for her favorite fashion magazine, but can’t quite get her foot in the door – until, ironically, she snags a job as an advice columnist for a financial magazine (for which she has no knowledge), published by the same company.  There she meets the boss of her dreams. Alas, comic situations and misunderstandings ensue because she’s a shopaholic and in debt.

PREVIEW REVIEW: This film has themes, and ripped-off situations, found in Clueless, The Devil Wears Prada, even Being There. What it doesn’t have is the slightest bit of originality. Yes, it’s a clean film, some might even argue that it has a moral (think she’ll learn about what’s really important by film’s end?), but nothing said, done, or worn is clever, let alone astonishing. And while Ms. Fisher is pretty to look at, with a sense of good comic timing, she’s given nothing inventive to say or do. It’s cliché-ridden right down to the boss she falls for. Hugh Dancy plays the boss casual to the point of blasé, and, of course, he sports the unshaven look, even when going to a formal party. By the way, will that look never go away – a New York wheeler-dealer seen throughout an entire movie with the same three-day beard? This affectation is nearly as dated as the storyline.

As for the storyline, it’s sweeter than uncooked Jell-O. But for a romantic comedy that outright steals from every other entry into that genre, it seems wrong to call it sweet-natured. Okay, it’s a clean film. Lessons are learned – sort of. But with a little effort, the writers (maybe not these writers) could have addressed this rather serious subject matter with satire. Instead, they constantly go for the easily laugh or slapstick buffoonery. Example: mistaken for being a waitress in one scene, the lead bumps into another waiter, the food and salads going everywhere. (Ha, ha, it is to laugh.) Come on, Hollywood, we expect this mindless dribble in January. But it’s the middle of February.

It opens Valentine’s weekend. Good luck with that, guys.

DVD Alternative: The Devil Wears Prada. Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci. Crisp, sharp-tongued wit (rare in today’s movies) and an Oscar-worthy performance by Meryl Streep (complete with a whispered delivery that sends shutters of intimidation down the spine of not just the film’s hapless underling, but of each audience member) highlight this satire of the fashion world and the people who populate it. The heroine has a sweet spirit and though she is mistreated by snobbish co-workers, she in turn gives them a caring respect, reinforcing the biblical lesson concerning loving the unlovable. She also learns life lessons about what’s important: love and integrity. And the film reminds this generation that clothing style does, whether we like it or not, partially define who we are. Caution: Again, we have a movie where the lead lives with her boyfriend outside marriage. It appears that in certain segments of society (other than the gay community) marriage is no longer important. And of course, its PG-13 rating does include some language – though not much.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Touchstone

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Minor obscenity such as “ass” and at one point some name calling of the nasty girl.
Profanity: A couple of “oh my Gods” but I caught no other misuse of God’s name or Christ’s.
Violence: Some minor slapstick pratfalls.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse:
Other: None
Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Teenagers

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