I swear, the first time I saw the trailer I thought that Amy Adams was playing the lead role. I was completely convinced it was her, so I was rather surprised to learn that it wasn't. With Amy Adams believed to hold the lead role, I was certain to find my way to the theater. Following her roles in Talladega Nights, Enchanted, Doubt, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (I have not yet seen Junebug), she proved to be an actress to keep an eye on. Following the revelation that it was not Adams, I was a little disappointed as now I will need to wait for Sunshine Cleaning. The woman who is playing the lead just so happens to be another actress that I am a fan of, Isla Fisher. She is an actress who has had memorable turns in films such as Wedding Crashers, The Lookout, Hot Rod (yes, I liked it), and Definitely, Maybe, so I cannot say I was completely disappointed.
Confessions of a Shopaholic is not what you could term a guy-targeted film. Fortunately, I am more open-minded about my movies than I am about my music. The film looks to target an audience similar to The Devil Wears Prada, skewing a little more towards the conventionally goofy rather than the satirical comedy of the Anne Hathaway film. You know what? That's all right with me. In these hard economic times what we need is some lighthearted entertainment that is not completely dumb. I am happy to report that this fills the need.
At the center of our story is Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher with a suitably upscale and elitist fashionista name for the role), a woman with a love for all things fashionable and a hopeless addiction to the absolute joys of shopping. Rebecca is an up and coming journalist looking to land a job at a prestigious fashion magazine, while suffering through a writing gig with a gardening mag. All is going well until the latest round of bills arrive, coinciding with the loss of her job. Not a very good turn of events for the deep in debt young woman.
Faced with needing to find a new job, she goes to the land of her dreams, but finds herself in the awkward position of interviewing at a financial magazine. It is not only awkward because she is the last person that should even consider offering advice on money, but because of the romantic comedy cliche of the meet cute involving Rebecca and her interviewer, Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy).
The story plays out in a rather predictable manner, complete with near romance, unfortunate misunderstandings, and run-ins with the wrong people leading to her climbing the career ladder rather than the romantic one. However, it is familiarity played out in a bubbly style that actually manages to connect in unexpected ways.
What really got me into the movie more than I was expecting was the writing aspect. The letter she wrote that helped her find a job combined the need to connect what she was writing about with something in her life that would help it connect with her audience. It is not terribly special or uncommon advice, but it is something that everyone needs to hear once in awhile and watching Rebecca try to find her voice and pair it with where she wants to go is actually pretty special.
Aside from the welcome writing angle, and the overall fun nature of the film, Confessions of a Shopaholic has proved to be a great platform for Isla Fisher to demonstrate her comedic skills. It turns out she is really, really funny, and adorable at the same time. She demonstrates a good sense of timing and a willingness to do what it takes to get the laugh.
P.J. Hogan is the man behind the camera and he brings a bouncy flow to the film. I would like to see more from him. I would not go so far as to say he has a unique style, but it is one that does the job well. His work previously caught my eye with the underrated 2003 film Peter Pan. He works from a fun screenplay penned by Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, and Kayla Alpert based on the novels by Sophia Kinsella.
Bottom line. No, not a great movie by any stretch, but one with an infectious sweet heart and an inspired lead performance. It is an enjoyable piece of fluff meant to uplift and entertain. It succeeds.