Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) writes for a gardening magazine, but dreams of working for a high-profile fashion magazine. Her great passion in life, which has become an addiction, is shopping. As a result, Rebecca has over a dozen maxed-out credit cards. She owes $16 000 and is being relentlessly pursued by a debt collector named Derek Smeath (Robert Stanton). She manages to avoid him only by telling outrageous lies. Rebecca shares an apartment with her best friend, Suze (Krysten Ritter), who convinces Rebecca to attend Shopaholics Anonymous meetings.
In the process of trying to gain an editorial position at the famed fashion magazine Alette, Rebecca ends up at Successful Saving magazine. Here she is employed to write a financial advice column, which becomes an overnight success. Even Rebecca’s parents (John Goodman and Joan Cusack) read her column and follow her advice.
Rebecca becomes romantically attracted to her boss, Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy), and romance blossoms. Unfortunately, everything that Rebecca has told Luke is a lie, and her lies are catching up with her.
Addiction; debt; deceit
Confessions of a Shopaholic contains some occasional low-level slap-stick violence and accidental harm. For example:
- Dozens of women line up for a sale. When the doors open they stampede, trying to run over the top of each other in an attempt to get to the sale items first.
- Rebecca struggles with a woman over a pair of boots at a sale, and Rebecca pushes the woman to the ground.
- To deceive Luke, Rebecca says that Derek Smeath (the debt collector) is an ex-boyfriend, who is now stalking her. When Smeath tries to enter Rebecca’s workplace to confront her, he is restrained by two security guards and dragged away.
- Rebecca slaps a man’s face at a party.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under five. In several scenes, for example, faceless storefront mannequins come to life and tempt Rebecca to buy the products they are wearing.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
The film contains some low-level sexual references and innuendoes. For example:
- Rebecca refers to a woman having the longest legs in the world. We see a picture of a woman wearing a short skirt that reveals her long legs in a sensual manner.
- There is a giant statue of a naked man outside an office window. Rebecca makes a comment about the workers in the offices on the floor below her looking at the statue all day long. She then makes a remark about not being a pervert.
- A character refers to ‘financial probing’ with sexual innuendo.
- In one scene, a woman who is trying to gain Luke’s attention stumbles on purpose and falls against him.
- In one scene, Rebecca slaps a man’s face, pretending that he made an inappropriate sexual reference to her.
- A character refers to a woman being a ‘total hottie’.
- While Rebecca is serving food to a group of people, a character refers to fish being a powerful aphrodisiac. Rebecca is told to give a woman two serves of the fish.
- A man introduces a woman as his friend and then states that she is a prostitute.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in this movie. For example:
- Rebecca and Suze play a drinking game while sorting through Rebecca’s bills. They drink from a bottle. They also drink shot glasses of tequila, steadily becoming more intoxicated as the night progresses. By the end of the night, both are heavily intoxicated, slurring their words and staggering badly.
- Rebecca drinks a cocktail at a party.
- People drink champagne at a party.
- At the same party, an older woman walking with the aid of a walking stick and acting in an intoxicated way falls against another woman while holding a glass of champagne.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some low-level sensuality in this movie. For example:
- Several scenes feature women wearing tight-fitting short skirts and low-cut tops that expose cleavage.
- One scene features a woman and man lying together in bed, clothed in sleepwear.
- Rebecca and Luke passionately kiss each other on the lips.
The following products are displayed or used in this movie:
- Apple brand laptop computers
- designer-label clothes and fashion accessories including Prada, YSL, Gucci, Burberry and Catherine Malandrino.
The film contains some mild coarse language and verbal putdowns.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Confessions of a Shopaholic is a romantic comedy that targets older teenage girls and women. The main messages from this movie are that:
- Sooner or later, deception and running up debt will catch up with you.
- You can’t find true happiness by using credit cards or buying things.
- Material things do not define who we are.
This movie could give you the opportunity to discuss with your children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences. For example, you could talk about:
- the way consumer advertising can manipulate people into believing that they need a product that they could actually do without
- the implications of the drinking ‘game’ played by Rebecca and Suze
- the consequences of incurring debt and paying it off, which might not be as easy as the movie suggests
- the consequences of deceit, such as the numerous lies Rebecca tells to avoid debt collectors – she has to keep telling bigger lies to cover up smaller ones.