Remember what the world was like when Sophie Kinsella’s 2001 novel hit book shelves, and an economic apocalypse seemed like a fanciful folly? Today’s audiences will view the misadventures of plucky journalist and Prada addict Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) through the twin lenses of wish fulfillment escapism and outright horror.

Yes, the movie still adheres to Kinsella’s fluffy premise that, with nothing but the purchase of a green scarf, a fashion-forward writer can miraculously become a hot financial columnist and woo a cute, infinitely understanding man (Hugh Dancy). But these retail therapy binges have now been cursed with a sickening sense of social freefall. It’s hard to watch so much quirky, conspicuous consumption while, outside the cinema, the global economy is falling apart.

Bad timing is merely one of this rom-com’s lesser problems; the abundance of wasted talent on display is an even bigger concern. The PJ Hogan who once managed to balance bliss and bitterness in Julia Roberts vehicle My Best Friend’s Wedding is Awol here – even the subplot about a Javert-like debt collector is warm-and-fuzzied – and Fisher’s natural comedic gifts are stifled at every turn in favour of bland ditziness. This is, apparently, what average moviegoers want from their female heroes. They deserve more credit.

Confessions Of A Shopaholic

Genre: Comedy, Family, Romance
Duration: 104 mintues
Released: Feb 19th
Director: P.J. Hogan
Stars: Isla Fisher, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, John Lithgow, Kristin Scott Thomas, Leslie Bibb, Lynn Redgrave, Julie Hagerty, Fred Armisen, Robert Stanton, Christine Ebersole, Clea Lewis, Wendie Malick, Stephanie March
Language: English
Classification: PG15
Confessions Of A Shopaholic
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