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Overall Rating
3.31

Awesome: 8.65%
Worth A Look42.31%
Average: 25%
Pretty Bad: 19.23%
Total Crap: 4.81%

9 reviews, 50 user ratings


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Devil Wears Prada, The
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by Todd LaPlace

"It’s confirmed. Meryl Streep is a god."
4 stars

Despite my obsession with reality TV, it took my girlfriend’s influence to start watching Bravo’s “Project Runway” (I got her back by hooking her on “Big Brother,” so it’s okay). I know who Heidi Klum is, but when the hot fashion designers sit in as guest judges, I just stare blankly at the TV. When the designers sew their dresses using jersey fabric, I’m confused. To me, the word jersey cannot be used outside references to a state and basketball attire. Fashion is weird. But despite being about fashion, “The Devil Wears Prada” isn’t weird. Like “Project Runway,” it’s just unexplainable fun.

I am probably the least sought after demographic for “The Devil Wears Prada,” the second feature from former “Sex and the City” and “Entourage” director David Frankel: a 24-year-old straight male who’s idea of fashion is the Eddie Bauer warehouse. I do believe, however, that I made up for those faults by screening the film in the most appropriate setting I could imagine, the Clearview in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. I was surrounded by people from whom the phrase “haute couture” is a daily piece of vocabulary and Jimmy Choo is revered as a god. With that as the case, I should and would defer to them for a true critique of the film, but I never got the chance to ask; they were too busy alternating between clapping and cheering. Who am I to argue?

In the interest of full disclosure, I have not read Lauren Weisberger’s critically-panned novel of the same name, although I have, of course, heard all of the stories about it being a thinly-veiled retelling of Weisberger’s time as an assistant to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. If so, I genuinely feel for Weisberger. Wintour’s fictional counterpart, Runway editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), is a devious, angry, bitter workaholic that genuinely gets pleasure out of torturing her underpaid, overworked underlings. If you somehow fall into her good graces (although no matter what, she still doesn’t like you), you’re in. If you don’t, you’re dead. And if you cross/humiliate/anger her or deliver her coffee two minutes late and only lukewarm, she’ll make that expression literal. Her most recent minion is recent Northwestern grad Andrea “Andy” Sachs (Anne Hathaway), whose thrift-store chic wardrobe makes her the subject of considerable ridicule around the office. She’s so adamantly anti-fashion that she’s hired largely as a curious anomaly. Hundreds, thousands or perhaps even tens of thousands of recent grads would kill for the chance to be verbally abused by THE fashion magazine mogul, and yet when she applies for the job, Andy doesn’t even know her name.

The first half of the film, with this push-and-pull parody of the fashion industry, has some bite to it, which makes it wildly entertaining. During a meeting in Miranda’s office, Andy laughs when the editors call two virtually identical teal belts wildly different (as far as I could tell, only the buckle was different, but then again, my favorite article of clothing is a ratty green hooded sweatshirt that I wear at least twice a week in winter). Miranda then spends the next five minutes brutally (and beautifully) deconstructing Andy’s frumpy, I’m-above-caring-about-fashion cerulean sweater and its couture origins, which caused the color to trickle down until Andy found it on a department store sale table. But in order to survive this standard fish-out-of-water story, Andy obviously has to glam it up and that’s when the movie starts to stumble. The melodrama starts pretty quickly when Andy invades the infamous Runway closet and, with the help of über-fabulous fashion director Nigel (a scene-stealing Stanley Tucci), pilfers tens of thousands of dollars of designer samples. I guess it helps that Hathaway, even in her sweaters and plaid skirts, is already smoking hot, even though the movie calls her the “smart, fat girl.” Imagine how different the picture would have been if Andy had been a size 16.

But even this hackneyed pauper-to-princess transformation is still salvageable, as it still plays into the enjoyable PG fashion porn aspect that made it good in the first place. Confoundingly, though, the movie introduces an unnecessary love triangle between Andy and two men that represent her two personas, the casual, laid-back Nate (Adrian Grenier) and New York freelance writer Christian (Simon Baker). They’re both clearly present to represent the story at large, but it’s obviously redundant unless the filmmakers expect us to skip out on the final 20 minutes. As Nate says, Andy’s real relationship is with Miranda and when the movie strays from these women, so does our interest.

I must give credit to the still-young Hathaway for continuing to hold her own against the best vets in the industry; first with Julie Andrews (a pair of “Princess Diaries” pictures) and now with certainly the greatest living and arguably the plain greatest actress, the 13-time Oscar-nominated Streep. In what could be considered a piece of summer fluff, Streep flawlessly plays Miranda with a devilish grin and a beautifully cold dismissive manner. I honestly wish I was watching her perform in a better movie, but if fashion is always this fun, maybe someday I’ll actually put in the effort to learn the difference between Klein and K-Mart.

Do you know how hard it is to review a fashion parody without referring to something as either being out of style or calling it “so last season”? I’m so proud of myself. I should go out and splurge on some shoes, bringing my collection to a whopping total of four. Watch out, Imelda Marcos. You’ve got some new competition.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14734&reviewer=401
originally posted: 07/09/06 10:35:02
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User Comments

3/18/17 Louise (the real one) The book is way better. 3 stars
3/18/14 Wmchfwqk If china you have the total new sales, and at least a misdemeanor -- after intimidating the 4 stars
9/04/08 Rachel Anne Hathaway is just so damn likeable and Streep is great as always. 4 stars
7/12/08 TreeTiger Avoid this... 1 stars
6/08/08 PAUL SHORTT A CLEVER, FUNNY LOOK AT THE WAY WE SOMETIMES RISK SELLING ONE'S SOUL IN THE NAME OF SUCESS 4 stars
5/06/08 Les one of the best movies of the last 2 years. It's funny and touching. 4 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Entertaining film. Streep doesn't go for the obvious. See it! 4 stars
7/02/07 R.W. Welch Slightly satirical take on the fashion game with sharp script and acting. 4 stars
4/27/07 Double M Everybody was really good, But the surprise for me was Emily Blunt, this girl is AWESOME.. 4 stars
3/11/07 Ryan_A Streep was fantastic, as was Tucci (he usually is). Rest of the movie, not so much. 3 stars
2/16/07 Bitchflaps A thoroughly vacuous hour and a half, should be dark, but is cutesy and maudlin. 1 stars
1/30/07 David Pollastrini Anne Hathaway is hot! 5 stars
1/29/07 Stanley Thai Better than many comedies these days. Acting were great. 4 stars
1/28/07 Edith Tide Meryl Streep could have found many less annoying ways to get another Oscar nomination! 2 stars
1/17/07 BigSnake Streep unbelievably good, rest of movie formulaic 4 stars
1/08/07 Phil M. Aficionado It was OK, but not "special" in any way, except Streep was terrific again 3 stars
12/18/06 Ole Man Bourbon Terrible. Predictable. Stupid. And the lead girl has something wrong with her eyes. 1 stars
12/05/06 KT meryl streep is the greatest actor i know so how could this movie be bad?? i love it 5 stars
11/27/06 Alice comedy? didn't laugh much, just an avarage movie. 3 stars
11/24/06 MP Bartley Streep is killer - but the movie is ironically too superficial. 3 stars
11/16/06 KC Meryl Streep's Oscar-worthy performance makes this a must-see! 5 stars
11/11/06 Sandra What possessed Meryl Streep to go near this turkey? Boring. Anne H becoming stereotyped. 1 stars
11/02/06 The Lurchprong Splitter Who said Mery Streep WAS Glenn Close, FCOL? 2 stars
10/26/06 moderntwist.blogspot It set me thinking. 4 stars
10/20/06 Karan Top notch! Highly recommend it 5 stars
10/19/06 Laura Are you stupid?? Meryl Streep is not Glenn Close!!! It's not the same person, idiots! 3 stars
10/18/06 Bruce Streep wonderful, but movie full of negative body image messages for young women 2 stars
10/16/06 Louise Enjoyable but the ending could have been stronger. 4 stars
10/11/06 Anne Hathaway AIN'T fat, but Julia Roberts might BE Jabba The Hut! Must be insulting if you like high fashion; Interminable and repellent if you don't. 2 stars
10/09/06 Meredith Harshaw Meryl Streep makes us miss DEATH BECOMES HER; Anne Hathaway makes us miss ELLA ENCHANTED. 2 stars
10/07/06 Jenny Tullwartz Never a good sign when pernicious indulgence is all that keeps a movie from being boring. 2 stars
10/06/06 Don't care what Eric D may say Twould've been better if all leads had farted in their haute couture lingerie at some point 2 stars
10/06/06 Kole I am in NY and I am straight - My girl dragged me and I must say I enjoyed it! 5 stars
10/03/06 Tanya Streep was priceless! 4 stars
9/29/06 Hart Worth every dollar I spent - 5 stars
9/22/06 Lisa Craven Streep at her best, never knew bitchy could be so good. Entertaining & Fun 4 stars
9/08/06 Hardy This movie really show what is happening in the fashion world as i experienced it myself 5 stars
8/20/06 diljeet singh kalsi Once again Ms Streep proves that she is the undisputed queen of all actresses.I have had th 4 stars
8/17/06 Pn. Walk on my back with spiked heals, Ms. Streep! 4 stars
8/03/06 Bill Good - Music/Cityscapes/Amusing/Worth the price of a ticket 4 stars
7/29/06 Heather Marie go to Hell 1 stars
7/13/06 Captain Highcrime If you're in NY or LA I dare you to find a straight male sitting in the audience. 3 stars
7/13/06 orpament Fun if you go with a teenaged girl! 4 stars
7/11/06 katsat Hathaway annoying but Streep is more than enough reason to see this.And dump the boyfriend! 4 stars
7/08/06 Gerry Irons very silly- not worth a rental 2 stars
7/07/06 Mike V Formulaic, but GOOD formulaic. 4 stars
7/06/06 Mase Proves what i've always felt. Dark Comedy is Streeps true cinematic calling. 5 stars
7/06/06 mwr Immensely enjoyable, Streep is Oscar perfection, Hathaway good too 5 stars
7/05/06 jcjs disturbing people can be so stupid sometimes..talk about lives of quiet desperation, snobs 3 stars
7/04/06 Joseph Great fun, excellent acting 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Jun-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 12-Dec-2006

UK
  05-Oct-2006

Australia
  28-Sep-2006




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