The Devil Wears Prada
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

a terrible novel into a middling feature film, at least in the case of
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Adapting Lauren Weisberger's roman a clef,
screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (with reportedly uncredited assistance
from Paul Rudnick and others) managed to fashion a
faux Cinderella
story. That idea seems particularly appropriate since Anne Hathaway
was cast in the leading role of Andrea 'Andy' Sachs, a freshly minted
graduate ready to take on the bastion of journalism who ends up
working as the assistant to Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep), the
editor of the fictional
Runway magazine. As in THE PRINCESS DIARIES
and ELLA ENCHANTED, Hathaway's character undergoes a transformation
from drab and dreary to fashion plate. The only major difference in this
case is that she doesn't run off with either of her "princes."

     Director David Frankel, who won an Academy Award for the TV
pilot-turned-short film
DEAR DIARY, has cut his teeth working in on
TV, including several episodes of HBO series like
FROM THE EARTH TO
THE MOON
, SEX AND THE CITY and ENTOURAGE. His direction here
shows the hallmarks of a good television director. He's adept at
the small moments, but sometimes the larger set pieces leave him
flailing.

     For the most part, he is also quite adept at casting. Selecting
Streep to play the "Dragon Lady" of fashion magazines was sheer genius.
Choosing Emily Blunt to portray her first assistant (coincidently named
Emily) and Stanley Tucci as a fey art director are two additional master
strokes. He stumbled a bit, though, in selecting Andy's two suitors.
Since Frankel has directed
ENTOURAGE episodes, I guess it was a
no-brainer to cast Adrian Grenier as Andy's boyfriend Nate, a wannabe
chef. Simon Baker as a freelance journalist who takes more than a
professional interest in Andy doesn't really register. In fact, in some scenes,
Baker looks so tired and wan that it's a wonder any woman would give him
a second look.

     If you have ever held an office job, you probably have encountered
the "boss from hell" and Streep manages to make the character both
amusing, scary and touching (sometimes simultaneously). She alone
makes the film worth seeing.

                     Rating:                C+
                     MPAA Rating:       PG-13 for some sensuality
                     Running time:      106 mins.

                     Viewed at the AMC Empire