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Confessions of a Shopaholic


Stars: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, John Goodman, Joan Cusack, Kristin Scott Thomas, John Lithgow, Leslie Bibb

Director: P J Hogan

The breathless, quirky charm of Sophie Kinsella's frothy, frenetic best-sellers Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, here squeezed into one yarn, completely collapses under the weight of this glossily glutinous Hollywood adaptation. And the diminutive, curvy redhead Isla Fisher is way, way too cute as the girl unable to resist a pretty shop window: she races around like a startled squirrel in pursuit of laughs which rarely materialise.

Thwarted in her efforts to get a job on Alette, a fashion magazine named after its owner (Scott Thomas), Rebecca (Fisher) somehow gets taken on by another magazine in the same group, Successful Saving, after she has mistakenly, in one of those unlikely confusions beloved of Hollywood romcoms, sent them a fashion article on comfort spending.

'You're advising people about debt.' squawks her friend Suze (Ritter) 'and you're up to your eyeballs in it.' Too late. Smitten by her dashing young editor (Dancy), Rebecca somehow manages to turn disaster into triumph on several occasions before her credit-ridden past (and present) catches up with her.

Fisher's role just needed a more frazzled (and less pretty) actress, though she tries hard to portray two left feet and a melting willpower against expensive clothes. Dancy is along for the ride as the requisite Englishman along Hugh Grant lines - you can just imagine the producers shouting 'Get me a young Hugh Grant' - while Cusack (overacting) and Goodman do their best to be oddball as Rebecca's more frugal parents.

The faux New York romantic music sounds remarkably like the background score from The Devil Wears Prada, another fashion magazine story.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Walt Disney (Touchstone). Colour by deluxe.
104 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 17 Feb 2009