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Confessions of a Shopaholic 

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Give Confessions of a Shopaholic points for being upfront. The flack that "women's movies" take for promoting consumerism---marry rich, fight for your dream wedding and shop your blues away---is here made front and centre. The adaptation of Sophie Kinsella's popular novel is sound because it's willing to look at material excess as its subject. It's a fallacy to think the consumerist impulse is relegated to entertainment for women: It isn't within the movie or music industries' interests not to endorse capitalism.

But by making it the topic, Confessions of a Shopaholic treats a life of spending with moral recognition. There's a tinge of sadness to social climber Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) remembering her mother's philosophy of buying her cheap brown shoes that lasted forever. Rebecca now shops for the instant high, the sense that a new wardrobe makes her new.

The main shortcomings of Confessions of a Shopaholic are that it isn't funny enough, and once its good intentions are laid bare, it becomes routine. But Fisher shines---bringing the approachable charm she displayed in Hot Rod to an old-fashioned Hollywood comedy.

For showtimes, see Movie Times, page 18. Can't buy me love at palermo@thecoast.ca.

Confessions of a Shopaholic
Rated PG (MPAA) · 112 min. · 2009
Director: P.J. Hogan
Writer: Tim Firth, Tracey Jackson and Sophie Kinsella
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Cast: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, John Lithgow, Kristin Scott Thomas, Leslie Bibb, Fred Armisen, Julie Hagerty and Krysten Ritter

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