Disney / Buena Vista | 2009 | 104 mins | Rated PG

I’ve never read the series of books by Sophie Kinsella that inspired Confessions of a Shopaholic but I can say the movie didn’t impress me. Maybe it’s the current economic crisis but an ode to shallow consumerism isn’t going to make it to my year-end list of the best films. Lead character Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is shallow enough to say, “A man will never love you or treat you as well as a store.” Despite her beliefs, Rebecca has massive credit card debt that has her on the brink of ruin. Despite consistent efforts by her best friend Suze (Krysten Ritter) and her loving parents (John Goodman and Joan Cusack), to help her get her shopping addiction under control, Rebecca just can’t resist the latest fashions. To top it all off, the magazine she writes for folds, leaving her unemployed.

Confessions of a ShopaholicEnter Successful Saving magazine editor Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy), a thrifty young businessman who just might be responsible enough to save her. While it’s not her dream job at fashion magazine Alette, Successful Saving belongs to the same publishing family, so she figures she might have a shot at Alette once she gets her foot in the door. Rebecca becomes a surprising success at Successful Saving, when her uniquely-voiced column, attributed only to “The Girl in the Green Scarf”, quickly becomes a smash. In the midst of all this, Rebecca has to cope with a persistent collections agent (Robert Stanton) and a white lie that might derail her blossoming relationship with Luke.

Confessions of a Shopaholic can be looked at as nothing but a standard romantic comedy. The only difference is that there’s a major shopping addiction at its core. Isla Fisher has shown she has some impressive comedic skills in Wedding Crashers but her talent is wasted here. The audience is expected to sympathize and identify with her character but when she gets into a fight with another potential buyer over a pair of designer boots, it’s hard not to think she might’ve gone over the edge.

I can only hope that Kristin Scott Thomas and John Lithgow were paid well for their work, because their contributions to this film are too insignificant to mention. However, look for Lynn Redgrave as a cheery drunk at a dance and get ready to laugh yourself to tears, when the stars try a Latin dance and Rebecca gets a little slap-happy with her Spanish fan. Regrettably, there aren’t enough moments like that to keep Confessions of a Shopaholic from being a largely forgettable film.

Confessions of a Shopaholic features a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that handles Jo Willems’ colorfulpalette and acrid contrast with ease. Primaries are powerful, allowing the high-fashions to shine in all their glory. Saturation is overblown at times but each instance seems to be the result of creative decisons rather than encoding issues. Detail is great, but depth remains convincing and dimensionality commendable. Aside from some softness that appears during Fisher’s opening walkthrough New York City, textures are generally refined, overall clarity and object definition is crisp and the use of edge enhancement is minimal. There is no artifacting, banding, source clutter, or noise reduction. While the transfer can be overbearing at times, Disney has presented a transfer that does the job.

The films DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is fairly uninvolving. Dialogue is clear, prioritization leaves no line behind and pans are smooth but rear speaker activity is so reserved that the mix fails to recreate the hustle and bustle of New York’s busy streets. LFE support is competent but usually produces similar results: traffic lacks presence, effects lack weight, and movement has no pop. In short, this DTS-HD MA offering is pretty thin.

The special features are limited:

Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes (HD, 14 minutes): Six EPK pieces that are very short — three standard, three exclusive — that briefly touch on a variety of topics including Patricia Field’s costume design, the storefront set, the green scarf featured in the film, the shooting of a particularly chaotic scene, window mannequins, and shopping in New York.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 6 minutes): A collection of deleted scenes that were wisely removed from the final film.

Bloopers (HD, 2 minutes): A standard gag reel in which cast and crew snicker at missed lines and goofs.

Music Videos (HD, 9 minutes): A trio of music videos — Shontelle and Akon’s “Stuck with Each Other,” Trey Songz’ “Takes Time to Love,” and Jordyn Taylor’s “Accessory.”

• A Digital Copy of the Film

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