A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
I like "Confessions of a Shopaholic" about as much as I disliked "Sex and the City." Both are about clueless women, but this one knows it. "SATC" is about women searching for love in most of the wrong places, and "Shopaholic" is about a woman searching for happiness in the places that are absolutely right for her: Prada, Gucci, Macy's, Barneys, Saks and on down the avenue.
The plotting is on automatic pilot. It needs Chesley B. Sullenberger III. There is not a single unanticipated blip in the story arc. But here's what sort of redeems it: It glories in its silliness, and the actors are permitted the sort of goofy acting that distinguished screwball comedy. We get double takes, slow burns, pratfalls, exploding clothes wardrobes, dropped trays, tear-away dresses, missing maids of honor, overnight fame, public disgrace and not, amazingly, a single obnoxious cat or dog.
At the center of this maelstrom is a genuinely funny comedienne named Isla Fisher. She reminds me of Lucille Ball, and not only because she's a redhead. She does one of the most difficult things any actress can do, which is physical comedy: Walk into doors, drop trays, fall into people, go ass over teakettle. She plays a Perfect Ditz in the sense of the Perfect Storm, carrying all before her. Give her a fan and 20 seconds of tango lessons, and get off the floor.
It is to the credit of the director, P.J. Hogan of "My Best Friend's Wedding," that he gives Fisher freedom and yet modulates it, so her character's earnest desire to please shines through. It was the same on "I Love Lucy." Lucy wasn't a klutz because she was trying to look funny. She was a klutz because she was trying not to.