If there is a single bright spot in the financial crisis, it is the possibility that one day producer Jerry Bruckheimer will run out of money. In a more just world, this would have happened before he gave the green light to "Confessions of a Shopaholic," a thin, largely unfunny comedy that marries lazy filmmaking with bad timing. Star Isla Fisher ("Wedding Crashers") is charming enough, and a gifted physical comic, but this material is so predictable and leaden that even she has no prayer of keeping it afloat.
"Shopaholic" follows the misadventures of Rebecca Bloomwood (Fisher), whose primary personality trait appears to be her delirium-inducing love of high-end clothes shopping. Like many Americans, Bloomwood is drowning in debt, hounded by a debt collector and interviewing for totally unsuitable jobs. Unlike most Americans, she does it all while wearing stiletto heels and animal prints.
Our heroine's other distinguishing features are excellent hair and criminally bad taste (Bloomwood proving anew that it is possible to wear jaw-droppingly expensive fashion and still look like a deranged streetwalker). She is joined in her ridiculousness by the dim but cute Luke (Hugh Dancy), her parents ( Joan Cusack and John Goodman, hamming it up as if their lives depended on it) and other actors ( Kristin Scott Thomas, Wendy Malick) who really should know better.
"Shopaholic" is based on Sophie Kinsella's popular novel, which was set in London, lending the proceedings a hint of quirky charm (lots of tea and British euphemisms). The movie is set in New York, within the swank halls of the Dantay West magazine company (a thinly veiled reference to publishing giant Conde Nast).
As if the plot and script weren't adequate handicaps, "Shopaholic" opens in an epically weak economy. Touchstone has acknowledged this by attempting to market the movie as a cautionary tale for our times, a sort of "Christmas Carol" for the fiscally frivolous. Put down your credit cards, overspenders of America! Or you, too, could share Bloomwood's terrible fate! Which apparently includes capturing the heart of a charmingly diffident Englishman and landing a plum job for which you are uniquely unqualified.
MPAA rating: PG (for some mild language and thematic elements)Running time: 1:52Opening: Friday.Starring: Isla Fisher (Rebecca); Hugh Dancy (Luke); Joan Cusack (Jane); John Goodman (Graham)Directed by: P.J. Hogan; screenplay by Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth and Kayla Alpert; photographed by Jo Willems; edited by William Goldenberg; music by James Newton Howard; production design by Kristi Zea; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. A Touchstone Pictures releaseCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun