April 18, 2008

300 Words About: The Devil Wears Prada

I missed the boat on The Devil Wears Prada during its initial theater run, partly because I don't worship the gods of fashion and partly because I'm not a 13 year-old girl, but mostly because it just didn't look like it would be a worthwhile movie. Having seen it now (in-flight on a 5" screen), I can understand why it was smashing success, and not just among readers of fashion magazines. Aside from the ever popular underdog story, the dialogue is pretty sharp. I would imagine some of the lines were actually said by Vogue editor Anna Wintour (reportedly the inspiration for Meryl Streep's character), but some of the throwaway lines by the other characters are quite funny in their own right. Emily Blunt and Streep (who received a Best Actress Oscar nod) were terrific casting choices here, and Anne Hathaway is adequate as the fish out of water. So what's wrong with The Devil Wears Prada? Well, aside from the minor quibbles I have with it (the most annoying cell phone ring I've ever heard, Alanis Morissette's horrible cover of Seal's "Crazy"), the movie is too long and too predictable. Also, I'm really sick of exaggerated character development. For example, when we first meet Andy and her friends, they enjoy wine at dinner and are hip, about-town New Yorkers, but as soon as she gets modeled up they're a blue-collar crew eating soggy fries and drinking Bud Light? Anyway, the real problem is the formulaic story - we don't see every turn coming, but the bus driver (director David Frankel) reminds us where we're going about every 10 minutes. Really, could you have imagined any other ending to this movie? Maybe I'm being picky since production annoyances and predictability are common to 90% of movies these days, and it would be unfair to make an example of Prada. Its imperfections make it perfect for an inflight movie, and Miranda is an interesting character that doesn't come along very often. That being said, I still don't worship the gods of fashion and I still don't think it was a worthwhile movie. For me.


  1. 3 words about The Devil Wears Prada: Emily is hawt.

    (editor's note: Mr. Kennedy subscribes to the David Letterman School of Comedy which believes jokes get funnier the more you repeat them, especially if they bombed the first time around)

    Except for the divine Ms. Em and a few bits by Streep, I mostly hated this movie. Granted, I'm not the target audience for it, but still.

    The boyfriend character was the killer for me. There was just no way in hell Hathaway would've stuck with that schlub for as long as she did.

  2. As someone who reguarly reads Vogue and Elle, I suppose I would be within the target demographic for this film - and, not surprisingly, I liked it very much as light entertainment.

    Streep was great, but I would also mention Stanley Tucci as one of the film's great pleasures. I'm always happy to see him pop in a comic supporting role, and he was wonderful here.

  3. I think The Devil Wears Prada will have a longer shelf life than I would guess half the movie that were consensus top 10 films of 2006.
    Why? First, it will be seen in retrospect as launching the careers of Blunt and the adult version of Hathaway. Second, it has one of the few outstanding performances from Meryl Streep that takes place in a popular film. Third, half the planet loves it. It's basically a female version of Top Gun.


    1) Each takes place in a glamorous profession - fighter pilot for men, fashion for women.

    2) Each has the talented, cocky, but inexperienced youngster being seasoned and tempered by a demanding senior officer and helped along by a friendly expert (Kelly McGillis and Stanley Tucci). I can't figure out, though, if Blunt is Goose or Ice Man.

    Four, it's a pretty good movie, a cut above most of the entertainment chaff that comes from Hollywood. Some genuine care, and genuine emotion. The ending is a glaring problem, though.

  4. Well, to be honest...

    I worship the gods/goddesses of fashion and, to be perfectly apropos, my name is also Miranda. I really hated this movie. No disrespect to anyone that enjoyed it, but I thought it was astoundingly awful. Unfunny, uinteresting, unbearable.

    The one truly bright spot is Meryl - who is, of course, brilliant as always. But even she didn't need to be nominated for this Christmas turkey.

    Lovely waste of a gorgeous summer evening and two bloody hours I'll never get back in this lifetime.

  5. As to the ending, Daniel, it actually is the ending that you would expect from the first section of the movie, but not the way it developed. You start thinking Miranda is a monster, but then you (and Andie) start to understand her. Then suddenly she's a monster again. That's the film's biggest flaw.

    Apparently the book is a lot meaner and a lot less understanding of Miranda. SO suddenly you're back in the book's point of view rather than the film's.

  6. Hate to compare book to movie here, since we're discussing the movie on its own merits, but I'm gonna anyway.

    The movie is actually BETTER than the book, IMO. The ending to the book is similar except for a slight variation that makes it suck.

    And they added depth to the Miranda character for the movie (she had zero human qualities in the book) to attempt to get Ms. Streep that 14th or so Oscar nod, I'm assuming.

    Overall, I really liked the movie, especially Emily Blunt and Stanley Tucci.

  7. Keep 'em coming, Craig. Great point about the boyfriend. He really didn't do much for himself to earn my respect, but I liked that he wasn't completely a pushover. Well, maybe he was in the end.

    Pat, if I had some more space (not that I'm actually counting), I would have mentioned Stanley Tucci. I liked when he was on screen. And "light" entertainment really is a good description. Light as in "inflight."

    Wow, K. Bowen. Excellent insight there with the comparison. You're right, Prada, is already referenced with some frequency, and it likely will live on as a favorite for many young girls. And you're right about the ending - it seemed like a few red herrings were thrown in for no reason, and in the end it's pretty anticlimactic.

    Ah, Miranda, I truly wondered where you would land on this, and I'm a bit surprised. Although, thinking about it, it really wasn't that classy - and I can tell you're classy.

    Thanks, Mrs. Thuro - I was really wondering how the book related to it, as it isn't on my summer reading list. Good to know that I can stay with just the movie.

  8. Thank you, Danny.

    I have actually been described as such (now and then) by people who would know. Very nice to think that a Minnesota boy - who I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting - feels the same way.

    You're in the will, honey. Or the Oscar speech. Whichever comes first. Or at all...

  9. The big problem with this movie, IMHO, is that Meryl Streep's character is much, much more interesting and complex than the dull main character, whose story I had zero interest in.

    There are some good lines, sure. But only when Meryl (or, admittedly, Stanley Tucci) is on screen, and I wish they'd have made a movie just about them, not the boring girl with the even more boring boyfriend who goes through a completely predictable character ark.

  10. I hope the second one comes much sooner than the first, Miranda. :-)

    That's a great point, Hedwig. The verdict is in on the boyfriend, but I hadn't really thought about the main character. Obviously it was probably a plot device for the novel, but Andy adds almost nothing of substance to the story.

  11. I'm definitely not the demo for this one ... 54, fat, and male, but I did enjoy it, despite its lame points, which you've all abundantly documented. And I enjoyed it for much the same reason I enjoyed the old "designing women" tv show or "ab fab": there's something to be said for acid-tongued women. (Especially when one of them is Emily Blunt. Hubba hubba.)

    Will I put it on my best 1000 movies list, if I'm ever foolish enough to make one of those? No. But as a couple of hours of time-killer, it was fine.

  12. Emily Blunt was featured in a recent NYT mag, Rick, FYI. I would love to see a top 1000 list sometime. Maybe start with 20 at a time.


Related Posts with Thumbnails