It’s easy to see that Sex and the City started a trend of creating movies and television shows that come from the fantasies of wanna-be fashionistas everywhere. The films and series that followed Sex and the City include The Devil Wears Prada, Legally Blonde, and Ugly Betty, among others. Some have been better than others, but there is no doubt that there is a niche audience for these films and shows. The latest “fashionista fantasy” film to hit theaters is Confessions of a Shopaholic. Based on a series of books aimed towards women, you would think that a “romantic comedy” film about this subject would be a match made in heaven.
In Confessions of a Shopaholic, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is a compulsive shopper. She cannot resist using her credit cards to augment her considerable wardrobe and dreams of working as a journalist for Alette, her favorite fashion magazine, run by French fashion editor Alette Naylor (Kristin Scott Thomas). She gets one step closer to her dream when she is offered a job as columnist for a financial magazine published by the same company by its editor, Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy). She finds unexpected success under the name “The Girl With The Green Scarf”, but relies on the help of her best friend Suze (Krysten Ritter) to help her hide from debt collector Derek Smeath (Robert Stanton) who is hot on her heels.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out that Confessions of a Shopaholic is your typical formulaic romantic comedy. There is nothing that original here. There are plot threads from Legally Blonde, The Devil Wears Prada and Sex and the City all included in this film. In addition, Confessions of a Shopaholic doesn’t really look any differently than Sex and the City or The Devil Wears Prada, mainly due to the fact that the same costume designer did those two films and this one as well. You have to give Confessions of a Shopaholic some credit for attempting to teach a lesson of excess consumer spending and the evils of credit cards. Of course, that lesson often gets pushed to the side for romance and more shots of high fashion and glamour.
About the only thing that really makes this film worth watching is Isla Fisher. This is a star-making vechicle for her. Too bad she doesn’t have anything fresh to work with. But Fisher does give it all she has and her brand of slapstick humor is perfect for this role. Now her chemistry with Hugh Dancy is not so great. They do have chemistry with each other, but it’s not the most believable on-screen couple that you will find in a romantic comedy these days. The supporting cast is also strong, but they are really not given much to work with either, so they largely have no factor on the overall quality of this film.
It’s fun watching Isla Fisher in Confessions of a Shopaholic, but besides that there isn’t a whole lot new to be seen here. Confessions of a Shopaholic pales in comparison to similar films like Sex and the City or The Devil Wears Prada. You know how this film will end, though. Even the attempt at a evil credit card message goes as predicted. All of that being said, though, women who love glamour, fashion, and shopping will certainly be entertained by this film.
The video is presented in 1080p/AVC at the 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen color ratio, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs of course. This transfer is great. The colors are mostly vibrant and bright throughout. No major problems at all, as you come to expect from Walt Disney released DVDs.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby 5.1 DTS-HD Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, or French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. So there are no major problems here either.
“Wardrobe by Patricia Field” Featurette –
This runs 3 minutes and producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, talks about costume designer Patricia Field (Sex and the City and Devil Wears Prada). We also hear from Patricia as well.
“Temple of Shopping” Featurette –
This runs 2 and a half minutes and it’s all about how the film was shot at the 5th Avenue Boutique. How that set was created and designed.
“The Green Scarf” Featurette –
This runs a minute and a half and it in Patricia Field discusses how the green scarf was used in the film, and how she was inspired by a Dolce & Gabanna scarf.
“New York: Fashion Central” Featurette –
This runs two and a half minutes and it’s all about how awesome it was too shoot in New York City. From the shops in Manhattan to capturing the beauty of the city on film.
“Sample Sale Madness” Featurette –
This runs 2 minutes and it’s all about how 200-300 women were hired to take part in the “Sample Sale” segment of the film.
“Window Shopping” Featurette –
This runs 2 minutes and it’s all about the mannequins in the window scene. We learn that models had to wear body suits and were CGd to look like mannequins.
Found on the Standard Edition As Well…
Deleted Scenes –
There are 4 scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the film and they total 6 minutes.
Bloopers of a Shopaholic –
There is 2 minutes of bloopers and gags from making this film. The usual not so funny stuff.
Music Videos –
There are music videos for three of the songs from the film. The three music videos are for “Stuck with Each Other” by Shontelle feat. Akon, “Accessory” by Jordyn Taylor, and “Take Time to Love” by Trey Songz.
If you have been by entertained by Sex and the City or The Devil Wears Prada, you will probably be entertained by Confessions of a Shopaholic. Just keep in mind this film is nowehere near as good as those films. It’s worth at least a rental for those people, but everyone else except Isla Fisher fans will probably want to skip this.
As for which version to rent or purchase, well the Blu-ray DVD has about 6 short featurettes that are exclusive to Blu-ray. So super fans may want to go with Blu-ray, but it’s a not a must.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Bride Wars. Directed by P.J. Hogan. Starring Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, Kristen Scott Thomas, John Lithgow, and Lynn Redgrave. Written by Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, and Kayla Alpert (screenplay); Sophie Kinsella (book). Running time: 104 minutes. Rated PG. Released on DVD: June 23, 2009.
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