Confessions Of A Shopaholic gossip: Hugh Dancy speaks Primark, not Prada, and Isla taps into her inner idiot!
I was lucky enough to see an early screening of Confessions Of A Shopaholic last week, and I must confess to being pleasantly surprised by it. I've read all of Sophie Kinsella's books and am one of many fans who felt a bit cautious about the decision to make Becky an American. How were they going to explain that when in the second book Becky moves to New York?
Simple. Confessions is actually an amalgamation of 'The Secret Dreamworld Of A Shopaholic' and 'Shopaholic Abroad', and while it takes huge liberties where the plots of both are concerned, the general gist remains the same. Lovable but crazy Becky Bloomwood, a shopaholic in thousands of dollars of debt somehow finds herself working as a financial journalist at a New York magazine, under the watchful eye of Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy - you'll be glad to know he keeps the English accent)...
Though it's not going to set the world alight, the film does follow in the grand tradition of similar romantic comedies (27 Dresses, How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, 13 Going On 30, Sex & The City and so on) in being funny, stylish, and watchable. People have argued that a glossy film about a shopaholic being released in the middle of a recession is a bit of a joke, but the point is that it's - to quote producer Jerry Bruckheimer - "a story of redemption" and by the end, Becky's no longer in debt.
Of course, for fashion fans the most exciting thing about Shopaholic is that the costumes were created by Patricia 'Sex & The City' Field. And boy, can you tell. While she isn't Carrie Bradshaw, Becky has the same brave approach to style and though the worst on-set photos make much more sense in the context of the movie, it's still a risky wardrobe.
Talking about the clothes at today's press conference, Isla explained that Becky's wardrobe was an integral part of the character. She even requested high heels because she thought Becky would totter about on 5" stilettos, even when hunting for bargains (and it added to the comedy aspect of the film). "I'm very comfortable tapping into my inner idiot!" the Aussie actress explained, which is lucky considering some of the physical comedy set-pieces from the movie (dance scenes, stunts with trays of food and one very scary looking sample sale).
However, despite a wardrobe full of Gucci, Zac Posen and the infamous Denny & George scarf, Isla didn't take a thing home with her. "They're Rebecca's clothes, and I'd feel like her in them." She explained, though she did confess to being a bit braver with her own style since filming the movie. "I feel my own fashion style is more brave now. I enjoy dressing more." She said.
Meanwhile, Hugh Dancy was asked if, like he character, he 'spoke Prada'. "No!" He laughed, "I'm still on chapter one." It was then suggested that meant he only spoke Primark, something which raised a smirk, if nothing else! Contrary to Isla, Dancy wished he had got to keep the clothes (so if anyone has a spare Prada tux, you know where to send it).
Overall, Shopaholic is a fun, watchable film and a nice bit of much-needed escapism. There are elements I wanted to disappear (talking shop mannequins, for one) but Isla Fisher's cuteness and obvious love of Becky really bring her to life. The actress says she was a fan of the books long before signing on to play Becky, and I actually do believe that. She definitely steals the show but she's well supported by a cast that includes Kristen Scott Thomas (brilliant as a French fashion mag editor), Joan Cusack, John Goodman, John Lithgow, Leslie Bibb and Krysten Ritter as well as Hugh Dancy. Look out for a brilliant cameo from Clea Lewis as a support group leader, too!