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CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 14, 2009 by  



“Stylish, fun and over-the-top! Glitzy, stylish, crazy and fun, ‘CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC’ looks and sounds absolutely delightful on Blu-ray!”

Images courtesy of © WDSHE. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

DURATION: 105 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1),  English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

RATED: PG (For Some Brief Mild Language and Thematic Elements)

COMPANY: Jerry Bruckheimer Films/Touchstone Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: June 23, 2009

Directed by P.J. Hogan

Based on a book titled “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Shopaholic Takes Manhattan” by Sophia Kinsella

Screenplay by Tracey Jackson, Tim Firth and Kayla Alpert

Executive Producer: Ronald M. Bozman, Chad Oman, Mike Stenson

Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer

Associated Producer: Melissa Reid

Music by James Newton Howard

Director of Photography: Jo Willems

Editing by William Goldenberg

Casting by Denise Chamian, Julie Schubert

Production Design by Kristi Zea

Art Direction by Paul D. Kelly, Rosa Palomo

Set Decoration by Alyssa Winter

Costume Design by Patricia Field

Starring:

Isla Fisher as Rebecca Bloomwood

Hugh Dancy as Luke Brandon

Krysten Ritter as Suze

Joan Cusack as Jane Bloomwood

John Goodman as Graham Bloomwood

John Lithgow as Edgar West

Kristin Scott Thomas as Alette Naylor

Fred Armisen as Ryan Koenig

Leslie Bibb as Alicia Billington

Lynn Redgrave – Drunken Lady at Ball

Robert Stanton as Derek Smeath

Wendie Malick as Miss Korch

John Salley as D. Freak

Enjoy a brighter, sharper experience in spectacular Blu-ray along with a bag full of bonus features exclusive to this 2-disc set.

Full in love with the adorable Becky Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) in the hilarious romantic comedy “Confessions of a Shopaholic”.  Becky’s desperate for a job writing for a high fashion magazine in glamorous New York.  She gets her stilettos in the door writing a personal finance column of a sister publication.  Much to her surprise, her column, “The Girl in thre Green Scarf,” becomes a hit, and she falls head over high heels for her handsome, overworked boss (Hugh Dancy).  But Becky has a secret that leads to some hilarious high jinks that could unravel it all.  From the best-selling novel, and featuring the perfect comedic cast, it’s the feel-good romantic comedy you’ll fall in love with over and over in Blu-ray High Definition.

Sophia Kinsella (a pen name for writer Madeline Wickham) is known for her “Shopaholic” novels which have been a hit in the UK.  Having published a total of five novels,  Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films has a film based on the first two novels (“Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Shopaholic Takes Manhattan) released back in 2001 and 2002.

Taking on the directorial reigns of the film is P.J. Hogan (“My Best Friends Wedding”) and a screenplay by writers Tracey Jackson (“The Other End of the Line”), Tim Firth (“Calendar Girls”) and Kayla Alpert (who produced many episodes for the TV series “Ally McBeal”).  Music for the film is by James Newton Howard (“The Sixth Sense”, “Pretty Woman”, “Primal Fear”, etc.) and cinematography by Jo Willems (“30 Days of Night” and “Rocket Science”).

The film would feature many all-star talents which include Isla Fisher (“Wedding Crashers”, “Definitely, Maybe” and “The Lookout”), Hugh Dancy (“Black Hawk Down”, “Ella Enchanted” and “Basic Instinct 2”), Krysten Ritter (“Frost”, “27 Dresses” and “Gilmore Girls”),  Joan Cusack (“War, Inc.”, “Say Anything”, “The School of Rock” and “Chicken Little”), John goodman (“Rosanne”, “Cars and “Bee Movie”), John Lithgow (“Dexter, “Dreamgirls” and “3rd Rock from the Sun”) and Kristin Scott Thomas (“The Golden Compass”, “Mission Impossible” and “I Loved You So Long”).

The film revolves around Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher), a writer for a gardening magazine who lives with her friend Suze (Krysten Ritter) and is known for her overuse of her credit cards (around a dozen of them) which she constantly uses in order to purchase the latest designer clothing in Manhattan. Her shopping habits are obsessive and to the point that her debt is just incredibly high and she has bills that have not been opened and unpaid.  Needless to say, she’s in financial trouble but yet continues to shop like there’s no tomorrow.

As a child, Rebecca has always been enamored by clothes but due to her fiscally conservative parents, always had to get the cheaper clothing and now as an adult, only wants the best.  Her goal is to work for her favorite fashion magazine “Alette” but finds out during the interview that Editor Alette Naylor (Kristin Scott Thomas) has hired socialite Alicia Billington (Leslie Bibb) for the job.

But instead of sulking about not getting the job, Rebecca receives good information from the office assistant that “Successful Saving” is hiring and because its part of the same family that publishes “Alette”, she can work her way to the top.  So, Rebecca interviews for the position and is interviewed by new editor Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy) who tries to learn more about her financing skills.  Having really no experience, she fumbles her way during the interview and claiming she knows about finance and that she knows Finnish (which she doesn’t know at all).

While returning back to her regular job, she finds out that her job is folding their business and without a job, she will be unable to pay her credit card bills.  And because she has maxed out may of them and doesn’t make all that much, she continually receives a message from debt collector Derek Smeath (Robert Stanton).

While her friend Suze tries to get her focused on paying her bills and getting Rebecca to take responsibility for her debt, the two get drunk and she accidentally sends a letter with a sample story to Luke Brandon, while accidentally sending the letter mean for Luke to Allete Magazine.

She receives a call a few days later from Luke that hew as impressed by the story and is hired to be a writer at “Succesful Saving”.  Using her knowledge of shopping, she utilizes her skill as a writer and uses the name of “The Girl in the Green Scarf”.  Her article becomes a success and makes the fledgling financial magazine to become a hit.

But with her debt collector doing what he can to get his money from Rebecca, and Rebecca having to wing a lie that she knows about finance, will she be able to keep this charade up for long?  And to make things worse, will her shopaholic mindset hurt her as she continues to pile debt?

“CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” is released on Blu-ray with 2-discs.  The first disc features the film and special features while the second disc features a digital copy of the film.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” is featured in 1080p with an aspect ratio of (2:40:1).  If there is one thing that caught my attention about “CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC”, the film tries to showcase many vibrant colors.  So, there are many scenes that just looks quite gorgeous.  For the most part, the majority of the film receives another solid transfer but there are some scenes that do have quite a bit of grain and also, some scenes that tend to overdo it with the color of red and amber colors.  But overall, the picture quality of “CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” is very good and considering Touchstone is part of Disney, all Blu-ray releases from their various companies have all been solid.

As for audio, “CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” is featured in English 5.1 DTS-HD (48 kHz/24-bit) and also in French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The film actually does a great job by use of panning audio from speaker to speaker but for the most part, the film is front and center channel heavy.  Dialogue is clear and for this film, one of the big factors in audio is the utilization of music.  There is some good LFE bass when it comes to music being used and overall, the soundtrack comes alive.  From the busy shops, to the sample sales in which you can hear the women fighting over clothing but it’s the music that I was impressed with how alive it was and setting a stylish pace for this film.

As for subtitles, English SDH, French and Spanish is offered.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” comes with a few short features featured in 1080p or 480i, English 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital and English SDH, French and/or Spanish subtitles.  Included are:

  • BEHIND THE FASHION – This segment features a total of six short special features.  Included in this section are:

Wardrobe by Patricia Field – (3:01) How Jerry Bruckheimer was happy to have Patricia Field (“Sex and the City” and “Devil Wears Prada”) involved as the costume designer for this film.  Interview with Patricia Field.

Temple of Shopping – (2:32) How the film was shot at the 5th Avenue Boutique, Henri Bendel and the designs created for thet set.

The Green Scarf (1:33) Costume designer and stylist Patricia Field discusses how the green scarf was used on the film and how she was inspired by a Dolce & Gabanna scarf.

New York: Fashion Central– (2:34) A featurette about how awesome it was too shoot in New York.  From the shops in Manhattan to capturing the beauty of the city on film.

Sample Sale Madness – (1:58) Around 200-300 women were hired to take part in the “Sample Sale” segment of the film.  The women went all out in their craziness during the sale and how actress Isla Fisher enjoyed shooting this scene.

Window Shopping – (1:50) The film features a creative use of the mannequins which communicate and try to entice Rebecca Bloomwood to shop at their store.  This featurette shows us how models had to wear body suits and were CG’d to look like mannequins.

  • Deleted Scenes – (6:19) A total of four deleted scenes which include “19 Scarf, Scarf, Scarf”, “Zepbra Print Pants”, “The Unexpected Kiss” and “Plaid”.
  • Bloopers of a Shopaholic – (2:07) The bloopers from the set of “Confessionso of a Shopaholic”.
  • Music Videos: This segment features a total of three music videos which include:

– “Stuck with Each Other” by Shontelle feat. Akon (3:25)

– “Accessory” by Jordyn Taylor (3:23)

– “Take Time to Love” by Trey Songz (2:32)

I tend to enjoy many films that utilizes fashion and designer clothing into the film.  So, I had high hopes for “Confessions of a Shopaholic” because it was a fun and stylish looking film.  In fact, for the most part, I did enjoy the film as we know that the character of Rebecca Bloomwood would eventually be caught for her lying and that there would be a cost or some type of way she would learn about her obsessive shopping habits.

But the problem with the film are the numerous farfetched and contrive plots.  You would think that a financial magazine would hire a writer based on a strong financial portfolio.  Then there’s the debt collector and we get to see how far a debt collector would go.  Granted, some debt collectors are known for their slimy tactics but in this film, it takes things to a new level.

In a way, two things that work against the comedy is unfortunately, in a bad economy, where people are depending on their credit cards or other ways for money for survival, you have a character who has a dozen credit cards that she doesn’t use for survival but for buying expensive designer brand merchandise.  Second, where you hope to see an empowered woman at the end becomes a woman who is just too ditsy to even think of a professional working for a major finance magazine.    As farfetched some plots were in the film, how this character is redeemed is again, too over-the-t0p.

Granted, “CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” is a romantic comedy but at least with a “DEVIL WEARS PRADA”, there is a likable woman who gets caught up in the fashion world but through pain, becomes a stronger.  Even, “Legally Blonde” had some redeeming factors with the main character.

With two novels being covered in the first film, sometimes I wonder how much storyline from the novels were actually skipped in the film adaption.   Having not read any of the novels, was Rebecca Bloomwood like this throughout the two novels?  Was their redemption for her character?

I also felt that perhaps the film could have used the talent (and there are a good number of well-known talent) a bit more wisely.

As for the Blu-ray release, so far anything related to Disney that has been released in High Definition have all been solid.  “CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” is a film where color plays a primary part in the film and this film is quite colorful and vibrant.  The audio is fun and for all films that utilize fashion, the music soundtrack plays a big part and in this case, music plays a very big part in “CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC”.  I enjoyed the use of audio especially how my subwoofer started working in tandem with the front speakers for certain songs.  So, that was cool to see!  Also, I was quite happy to see a digital copy included with this release.

Despite the number of special features included on the Blu-ray disc, I was surprised that there was no in depth behind-the-scenes featurette.  Most of the special features included are quiet short and are at under two minutes.

“CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” starts off very well in its first half but somehow, unfortunately, the over-the-top situations start to make things a bit too farfetched and contrived for my tastes and the overall storyline was a bit predictable.  But by no means is the film a bad.  There’s no denying that filming in New York City has given this film such beauty and the overall fashion presentation makes this film quite stylish and cool.

In the end, “CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” was an enjoyable popcorn flick which you can enjoy for its crazy humor, stylish presentation and its crazy characters.  Isla Fisher is absolutely charming and fun but its probably best to watch this romantic comedy without being serious minded.

But as long as you enjoy its craziness, you’ll find “CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC” to be quite entertaining and fun!

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