Sometimes a movie is like an ice-cream cone. It's all sweet and sugary goodness, but there's nothing packed into the cone so it cracks and falls apart in your hand. That's exactly what happens in Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Based on a novel by Sophie Kinsella, the shopaholic confessing is Rebecca (Isla Fisher), who's doing everything she can to stimulate the economy: a scarf here, some boots there, a new purse to match this dress. She's up to her eyeballs in designer labels and debt -- and now she's unemployed. Fortunately for Rebecca, a bottle of tequila helps her land a job at a finance magazine writing a column that makes complex ideas easy via clothing analogies. It's as ironic as an ugly Betty working at a fashion magazine.
And here's where it all starts to crumble. Rebecca struggles with her shopping habits in ways that are annoyingly repetitive. Also, while dodging debt collectors, she still manages to capture the world's attention with only two advice columns. Talk about overnight success! If that weren't enough, she falls for her boss (Hugh Dancy) in one of the most under-developed romances in the history of cheesy romances. The plot is the hollow cone that can't support the ice cream, which is a real shame because it's a surprisingly good flavor.
Director P.J. Hogan (My Best Friend's Wedding) has taken a barely stitched-together script and created something that approaches fashionable out of it. But Fisher deserves a lot of the credit, because she brings more than just a superficial facade to her character. Her Rebecca is a little bit clueless, a touch annoying, but a whole lot of fun.
Once all the fluff is removed from the premise, Confessions of a Shopaholic actually has some wonderful scenes involving Rebecca's struggles with her addiction.
As fantastic as Fisher is, the film's accessories - the supporting cast - are equally strong. Playing Rebecca's thrifty parents, Joan Cusack and John Goodman are wonderfully doting and embarrassing. Krysten Ritter is also great as the generous best friend and roommate, who finally pushes Rebecca down the debt hole to rock bottom. The script doesn't support the comedic potential of the group, but they do manage to get a lot of mileage from a limited fuel source.
Confessions of a Shopaholic may cause some sugar shock and give you brain freeze, but it's worth the splurge. Even a broken ice cream cone can be tasty.