Monday, February 26, 2007

Reviewnytoons #1 - Damn thee to Chanel!

Well, I'm watching so many freakin' movies these days, it seems I ought to be writing some reviews, just to get my own thoughts around it anyway.

My lovely wife and I watched The Devil Wears Prada the other night.

On the whole I enjoyed this movie. It made me laugh in all the right places, had some very nice moments of social commentary and satire, and Meryl Streep was, as usual, perfect.

The movie, however, was not.

It seemed not to know quite what it was. Now, I have not read the book from which it was adapted. I didn't even know it was adapted from a book. Of course, it's chick lit. Given the boyfriend's sensitivity and... well, he was a fucking girl with chest hair, I should have realized exactly what it was.

Really it's too bad.

You see, Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a brill writer-chick who graduated from New York university and gave up a prelaw scholarship to Stanford to get a job in the New York journalism field. As if. She hopes one day to write for the New Yorker.

How does prelaw at Stanford screw that up? I have no idea.

So after getting rejected at seven thousand other pubs, she finally gets a job working for the Dragon Lady of publishing, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) as a second assistant, a job thousands of chicks would "kill for."

Now Andy is a fashion disaster in Uggs and has to work for a semi-sane beyotch Emily (Emily Blunt) Did I get that right? Anyway, they play up the imperious nature of this Miranda to the hilt and beyond. If you'd been stabbed with this sword, the swordsman's elbow would be stuck in your spine. The only thing that saves the ridiculousness of it is Meryl herself. Anyone else would have surely overplayed it, but she toned it down and was so consistently believable that I forgot that this woman doesn't exist. That's why she was up for an Oscar last night despite a mediocre movie. That icy "That's all" of dismissal will stick with you after this movie has quite faded away.

Miranda takes a chance on the dumpy Andy because all of the fashion plates she'd hired before were a disaster. Maybe someone with more brains than bulimia would do a better job.

Of course, size 6 Andy is immediately singled out as fat. Whatever. She's hotter than rocket fuel, and certainly way hotter than Emily.

So after getting run through the ringer and verging on failure, she gets a little help from the other bright spot in the movie, Nigel (Stanley Tucci.) Stanley is pitch perfect as the effeminate yet manly Nigel, Miranda's second-in-command at the mag, and Andy's mentor-figure.

So what's her first step. Nigel turns her into a fashion plate. Amazing how that happens in these movies. Suddenly she's a damn runway model herself. All you need is to blow $15K at I. Magnin or whatever the heck. As soon as she's wearing Chanel and some fuck-me pumps, she's a perfect assistant.

The rest is the natural and somewhat predictable progression of getting to know thyself and deciding what to do about it. I won't blow the plot, but if I did, you wouldn't be surprised.

This movie could have been a lot more, could have been a little deeper look at the fashion world and the personalities without losing its funny-bone. Instead everything wraps up a little too nicely all around.

That said, it was fun, and certainly enjoyable and the ending does make you feel pretty good. I can't stress enough that Streep's run in this film is brilliant. The one moment of weakness you see in her character is captivating and very revealing. Of all the parts, Miranda rises above the level of caricature and finds real believability. If the rest of the movie had been written as well, and acted as well by the rest of the cast, this might have been a very different movie.

In all I give it 3 out of 5 Quacks.


It's about me, dummy!!!


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