The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada

***

Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

Yet again we're in the Big Apple for another easy on the eye rom com. New York City is such a staple location, it's really about time these films had their own sub-genre. I'm in favour of the 'Nom Yom'.

For a movie based in the high-flying world of fashion magazine journalism, the New York setting is certainly apt and very familiar for director David Frankel, who has helmed many a Sex In The City episode. Anyone who enjoyed his Carrie Bradshaw forays will know what style to expect here.

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No Sarah J-P this time as actress de jour Anne Hathaway takes the lead. On much safer, more formulaic ground than Brokeback Mountain she plays Andy, a naive young journalism graduate looking for her first break. With no knowledge of the fashion world behind her, but with a hefty plot crowbar in front, she lands the role of assistant to Meryl Streep's ice queen, editor of world-leading glossy Runway.

As a frumpily dressed newbie, Andy is baptised in bitchiness by her bulimic, immaculately styled colleagues, whilst working all hours to make the impossible happen for her diamond-hard boss. Soon she's getting the girlie dream, wearing haute couture, going to the parties and becoming absorbed in the fashionista lifestyle. But that means losing her stereotyped chums and her unpretentious, loving boyfriend. She's a peppy good girl of integrity, of course, so do you think she'll still choose the sham of the glam?

So, despite the costumes being ab fab, darling, the plot's no blazing trendsetter, more M & S than Manalo Blahnik. Mainstream and no surprises.

Whilst donning the designs Hathaway again proves her competence and is sweet enough to keep things bouncing along to the distinctly chick flick pop tune soundtrack. Streep is incapable of a poor performance and her arctic uber-editor, a powerful but lonely woman, consistently upstages the young pretender. As Streep's stylish advisor, Stanley Tucci is an able foil and brings the most warmth and real humour to the film.

Just as well, as the jokes about girls being pressured to diet to size 0 and constantly update their wardrobes run a bit thin, even hypocritical up against the waif-like Hathaway. Despite a few Dutch rubs the fashion industry escapes any serious satire, though, even getting a chance to justify itself. So with the predictable rom and the unchallenging com there's actually no devilish side to this pretty but insubstantial date movie.

Reviewed on: 26 Sep 2006
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The Devil Wears Prada packshot
A young journalist struggles to survive in the cut-throat world of fashion.
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Read more The Devil Wears Prada reviews:

Chris ****
Andrea Mullaney ***
Anton Bitel **1/2

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna, based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger

Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Adrien Grenier, Tracie Thoms, Rich Sommer

Year: 2006

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

Festivals:

Glasgow 2011

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