Blu-ray Edition

Review by Amanda Jacobson

Stars:  Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, John Goodman, John Lithgow, Joan Cusack, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Krysten Ritter, Wendy Malik
Director:  P. J. Hogan
Audio:  DTS HD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio:  Touchstone
Features:  See Review
Length:  105 Minutes
Release Date:  June 23, 2009

"He says I'm opening up a whole new demographic."

"You're opening up his WHAT?"

Film ***

I had the pleasure of purchasing the Kinsella audio book of Confessions of a Shopaholic and enjoying it at work prior to seeing the movie and I have to admit, I’m impressed how the movie and book are so close to one another without twisting the actual story!

We start out in Rebecca Bloomwood’s (Fisher) childhood with a little nose pressed against the window of a trendy boutique, peering in at the shiny shoes, glam handbags and beautiful women inside with their “magic cards” smiling as only a woman could when she finds the perfect buy. Flash forward about fifteen years to a gorgeous, handsomely dressed red head in heels prancing around Manhattan with a magic card of her own. The problem with Ms. Bloomwood is she doesn’t exactly have one perfect buy, or even two. She is what you'd call a habitual and addicted shopper.

We all have one time of the month we all equally loathe, bill time! Rebecca and a co worker are sitting on the job as Rebecca flips through one bill after the next. After acknowledging she actually did make a purchase at a sporting goods store, she realizes she’s almost late for a coveted job interview with a high fashion magazine, Alette. She re-dresses and rushes to the interview of her dream only to be sidetracked by a brand I’m quite aware of and will keep nameless, Hunter green dreamy silk scarf in the window, and on sale. An item she sees as in investment cant be resisted, so much that she’s trying to pay for it on three or four cards and with $20 cash. She runs outside to try to get a hot dog vendor to cash a check she wants to overwrite for a hundred hotdogs when a charming guy gives her the $20.

We later find out that the job at Alette has been taken by the dreaded enemy of all ladies out there, a gorgeous leggy blonde with a “perfect everything”. The receptionist at Alette tips off Rebecca of an opening at a financial magazine just a few streets away. Much to Rebecca’s chagrin she finds the guy that floated her $20 for the scarf for her *ahem* aunt who now has died suddenly is interviewing her. Feeling flustered and pretty dumb she ends up leaving and cutting off her own interview to head home to console herself from her recent unemployment, due to her subpar fashion magazine job filing bankruptcy.
Once at home in her trendy Manhattan flat with best gal pal and beacon of sanity, Suze, they decide to review her bills, her life, the bummed job interview and recent brush with Mr. Derek Smeath bill collector at large. After tallying up the over $13k she owes many different card companies and department stores, Rebecca decides the Editors at Alette and Financial Savings deserve a piece of her drunken mind. Totally by accident do the letters and envelopes get mixed up and find their ways to the inappropriate readers. This is a good thing, as Luke Brandon, editor of Financial Savings is impressed with Ms. Bloomwood’s creative twist on finance being likened to shopping and offers her a job.
Luckily Ms. Bloomwood is able to create another article about the outrageous percentage rates store cards charge their customers and nudge her way into the world of being published. She chooses her inspiration as her moniker , “The girl in the green scarf” and is on her way to becoming a hit. While still struggling to avoid Mr. Smeath -the barely legal in some states -collector and trying to cut back on purchasing unnecessary things, Becky begins attending Shopaholic anonymous (lead by Malik) and tightens up her wardrobe via completely overworked space bags.

In a revealing moment with her Editor , geekily hunky Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy) is when Rebecca (Isla) discovers she has feelings for him and his knowledge of Prada. As his mom is a New York socialite, he wants to make his own name, he doesn’t bother putting much effort forth in impressing anyone with his wardrobe.

Rebecca’s column and Financial Savings have grown in popularity so a popular TV host invites Rebecca and Luke on for a chat. Little does she know that Derek Smeath (Robert Stanton) is in the audience and has the guts to call her out. Rebecca has informed everyone at Financial Savings Smeath is a crazed lunatic, obsessive ex-boyfriend. Stanton ostracizes and embarrasses her, forcing her to painfully and very publicly confess to Suze, Luke Brandon, her parents (Cusack and Goodman) her shopping addiction and barrage of white lies.

The end was kind of predictable, girl has a problem, lies a little to cover it up, gets outed, makes things right and gets the guy -the end.  After making amends with Suze she apologizes to her friends and family and auctions off all of her unnecessary clothing (haute couture) to the public in order to pay off her bills and repair what credit she can. In making things right, she somehow manages to auction off the one item that brought her such good luck, the green silk scarf (Henri Bendel...okay, I said it) to the highest bidder.

In the end after putting all the cards on the table, Rebecca pays off her debt in pennies to Derek Smeath as payback, literally. She nixes her shopping problem and gets the guy, who actually starts his own financial magazine with Becks as a permanent columnist.

Video ***1/2

Isla Fisher is a colorful character, and her red hair and constant wardrobe changes are what helps make this high definition transfer a real treat.  The images are sharp and clear and the colors are natural looking and well-contained throughout.  New York looks vibrant and alive both inside and out, and Miami Beach is beautiful to behold.  There is occasional noticeable grain, particularly in backgrounds, but lines and definitions are sharp and superbly contrasted.

Audio ***

This comedy is mostly driven by dialogue, but there are occasional moments of bustle that bring the dynamic range up a bit.  The spoken words are clean and clear, and though there's not a tremendous amount of rear channel or subwoofer usage apart from the music, you won't really be missing any of it.

Features ***

There are three behind-the-scenes featurettes and two music videos from Jordyn Taylor and Trey Songz exclusive to this Blu-ray release, in addition to the standard DVD features, including a blooper reel, four deleted scenes and a third music video by Shontelle featuring Akon.  A bonus disc is included for making a digital copy.


The ending is kind of expected, but the moral is a good one...pay your bills, and if you have a problem, admitting it is the first step.  But don't let that stop you from purchasing this quality Blu-ray with one of your own magic cards!

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