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.