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Look out for more coverage of
Confessions of a Shopaholic in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Confessions of a Shopaholic

THE STARS:
Isla Fisher • Hugh Dancy • Kristin Scott Thomas
DIRECTOR: PJ Hogan

Isla Fisher THE CONCEPT:
Rebecca Bloomwood (Fisher), is really good at shopping and running up credit card debt and dreams of working for her favorite fashion magazine Alett. But can’t quite get her foot in the door until, ironically, she snags a job as a columnist for financial magazine Successful Savings, published by the same company. But soon her credit card debt begins to catch up with her, destroying her ambitions and her budding relationship with Luke Brandon (Dancy), the editor of Successful Savings.

U.S. RELEASE: February 13 2009, Nationwide
• Rated: PG

THE COMMENTS:

SOPHIE KINSELLA (book’s author – about changing the venue from Britain to America):
PJ Hogan and Sophie Kinsella“I write books, I don’t make movies. This is a big collaboration. There are all kinds of factors that go into making a movie and my concern was to have just a fun movie that worked, that spoke to people, that kept the essence of the book. For me, it was far more important to protect Becky’s qualities – her humor, her endearing qualities, her foibles – and the fact that she’s American or British is to me of lesser importance. I just think it’s a great, fun movie.”

ISLA FISHER on moving from a supporting player to a lead role:
Isla Fisher“Obviously, I am very surprised and eternally grateful to Jerry Bruckheimer (the movie’s producer) and completely bewildered as to be chose to have my own movie. You definitely felt far more responsible for the tone of the movie as a lead than you do as a supporting cast member where you can just come in and muck about. And on top of that, playing a beloved character from a book that is extraordinarily successful, and knowing that she is now going to be American, and wanting to just capture the essence of her properly added more pressure.”

PJ HOGAN (who is also Australian):
“To be totally honest, when I first met/ Isla, I didn’t know she was an Australian. I had seen her only in Wedding Crashers and when I met with her, I was expecting an American. That’s how clueless I am. And then she said, ‘Hello, mate,’ and I thought she was sending me up. Then, I realized that she had spent years on Home and Away, a show that I had written a script for once - like all Australians, you often have a very embarrassing background in television, so we shared those moments. It was great working with Isla.”

HUGH DANCY on his chemistry with Isla:
Hugh Dancy and Isla Fisher“All good chemistry on screen, for want of a better word, is there as a result of the work that you do and actually relies on all the other people as well and, if you get on with that person and have a good time with them, that’s a bonus - which, in this case, was true. The weird thing about the relationship between the two of us in the film is that it veers from very formal scenes to kind of knock about comedy, and we had to keep reminding ourselves which one we’re in, because you don’t want to be doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. I think Isla has this kind of ability and fearlessness to really take the plunge and make herself look like a complete idiot in the security that PJ is then going to take that, shape that and use it appropriately. I suppose I felt that my job was just to keep the ball in the air.”

HOGAN:
“I loved the books. I’ve read all 5 and I identified totally with Rebecca because when I was young, I’d gotten in big trouble with credit cards, and I actually had a humiliating experience which happens to Rebecca in one of the books. Somebody cut my credit card in half in front of me and I felt so ashamed. So, that was an element that was important in the story to me, and I know it’s there in every book and so I know Sophie takes it very seriously. And what I loved about the books is that nevertheless, you’re laughing. You can identify with the trouble Becky gets into because you’ve been there.”

FISHER on the dancing scene with Hugh:
“I think Hugh is a wonderful dancer. What I really loved about Hugh was that he came to the movie and took it seriously as if he was in a dramatic movie. As a result he played the greatest straight-man. It gave me, playing Becky Bloomwood, somewhere to go and to be more outrageous. The comedy was grounded in reality because of him. He brought so much integrity and heart to the film. And yes, he was a fantastic dancer. He remembered the more traditional moves far better than me.”

DANCY:
“The way I remember the dance scene it was written fairly straight. This is the end of a sequence where two characters see something in each other that they like and they go out on the streets of Miami and end up dancing and that was pretty much it. It was not designed to be a comic set piece. The whole sequence was improvised and wasn’t in the original script. We kept laughing at the appalling nature of our dancing first of all. And then we thought, ‘Well, maybe this would work as well, if not better, with some comic moves.”

FISHER on what she thinks of workplace romances:
“I think it works out very well for Rebecca in the story, because Luke Brandon uncovers her voice and helps her fulfill it - she doesn’t realize how talented she is until she meets him. And for him, he learns to loosen up. That’s why their relationship is so nice. Personally, I’m not a fan of romance in the workplace because you are stuck seeing someone every day.”

DANCY:
“As long as it’s legal, I think it’s okay [he laughs], but it’s obviously rife with difficulties. We’ve all had our own share of workplace romance I expect. I think as long as there’s actually some romance in it, as long as that’s not just a euphemism for something else entirely, I say, ‘Thank God for them!’”

FISHER:
“Obviously, this film was conceived during a different economic period. The lessons that Rebecca learns in the movie we have all been learning recently. So it feels really topical. I am proud of the way we handle that issue at the end of the movie.”

Shopping...

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2009 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #701, December 2008 cover

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