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This romantic comedy cashes in with big stars and appealing PG entertainment that erase possible qualms about the debt/money themes.

DVD Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic (Two Disc Edition with Digital Copy)

People didn’t buy much of Jerry Bruckheimer’s relatable romantic comedy when it first released in theaters, but it’s certainly not regulated to the bargain bins for the home video release. In this solid, two-disc DVD set, P.J. Hogan directs a fast-paced romantic comedy that addresses materialism, debt, and career goals with an appealing leading lady supported by a pantheon of recognizable names.

Isla Fisher stars as Rebecca Bloomwood, a.k.a. "The Girl in the Green Scarf" who lives beyond her means and has glamorous aspirations as a feature fashion writer. It’s not surprising this Australian actress worked well with fellow Aussie Hogan, and her costars, roommate Suze, played by Krysten Ritter, and magazine manager Luke Brandon, played by Hugh Dancy, can certainly hold their own. Fisher gets a few showcase moments, most notably dancing with a fan Luke gets her on a trip they take, and proves she can handle a leading role.

The supporting cast consists of big stars in bit parts. John Goodman and Joan Cusack play Rebecca’s parents; John Lithgow plays top executive/Luke’s ultimate boss Edgar West, and Kristin Scott Thomas plays famous fashion magazine editor Alette Naylor. Saturday Night Live comedian Fred Armisen plays Ryan Koenig, an executive who has an antagonistic rivalry with Luke. Leslie Bibb does her best Sharon Stone impression as a feature player at Alette’s fashion magazine and Julie Haggerty plays an assistant at Luke’s finance magazine. Wendie Malick provides a spark as Miss Korch, leader of a shopaholic support group, but the most surprisingly puzzling supporting role is Lynn Redgrave, who plays a very small role as a drunken lady at a gala event where Rebecca gets mistaken for a waitress. Initially it seems Redgrave’s character might be Edgar West’s wife… or mother, but her character goes nowhere as filmmakers create some mildly satisfying comic moments and life drama.

Filmmakers place the same comic spin on Rebecca’s debt collection troubles embodied by Derek Smeath, well played by Robert Stanton, the runner-up antagonist. This lanky loan enforcer lurks then pounces based on his extensive experience. Smeath works well as a constant issue who won’t go away as Rebecca’s approach teaches audiences good morals and lessons.

Some moments are a little hokey, but the film has a fast pace, so fast that it doesn’t allow the awkward, seat-squirming scenes to linger. This technique works well, allowing filmmakers to pack plenty of material from the novel into the 105 minute running time. The screenplay, written by Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth, and Kayla Alpert, shows both sides of the materialistic coin ranging from a shopaholic support group to the whimsical feelings that rush through shoppers when they find a real bargain.

Thought the ending would have an extra twist, but plot points are still enjoyable even though some moments will be predictable. It’s a pleasant experience complete with high quality picture and sound. The music soundtrack, filled with popular artists, has a standout song by Macy Gray, titled “Don’t Forget Me,” near the end.

This adaptation of the novel, written by British author Sophie Kinsella, includes a digital copy, four deleted scenes (running a little over six minutes total), about two minutes of bloopers, the “Stuck With Each Other” music video by Shontelle featuring rapper Akon, and a $10 Fashion Cash code, which must be entered at Confessions Fashion Cash before July 31, 2009, to receive a coupon by mail. Recommended and rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements.

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