The Devil Wore Prada [PG-13]
The second great Meryl Streep role of the summer, after A Prairie Home Companion, Meryl's Miranda is a true terror. Awful, yet even a wee bit sympathetic. And Stanley Tucci (!!), this is one of the best things I've ever seen him do -- never misses a beat as a fashion designer for the magazine.
Anne Hathaway plays a Northwestern University (Go Wildcats! Go Purple!) journalism grad in New York looking for a job, and is sent by Human Resources of this publishing conglomerate to be "the new Emily" or Second Assistant for the Queen Bitch of the Universe Miranda at Runway Magazine. It's all fashion and glitz, stuff which Andrea doesn't have much of a clue on. Or at least that's the basis for the story.
Now girls, let's dish... Anne Hathaway, even in jeans and a frumpy sweater isn't really some fish out of a water here. And Puh-lease, she's a size 6, or so we're told. Hathaway does a decent job, does the cute and endearing young woman slaving against the tyranny of her mean boss and wicked first assistant supervisor. But she doesn't resist the songs of the siren's looks, making her fashion transformation a little off-putting and some of the "trendy" outfits she wanders around in? Très, très, too much. And when she tells Stanley Tucci she's shrunk to a size 4, and is pleased as punch about it, there's not one trace of questioning, soul-searching about what message is being sent here or anything of moral and ethical value. So disappointing.
And there's one scene where they remove the competition as felt by the tough first assistant against our clueless second assistant, I guess so we're able to not have our main girl feel guilty about what happens next -- but it's a ham-fisted scene played in a way which just seems too cartoonish for this movie. Because despite the stereotypes and comedic moments, most of the movie is actually played straight and it's the fish-out-of-water storyline which is supposed to supply the laughs. It's borderline mean.
One could argue that the movie is utterly predictable, that the standard events happen at the standard cue times in the movie... but the fact is that (a) the high fashion world is foreign to a lot of people, so it's fun to look at it from the inside and (b) the movie is charming and endearing despite the flaws. And the fact is there is some genius acting going on and the design, styling and cinematography are all gorgeous.
We enjoyed this a lot.
Stumbling Around On Cable
After getting home, having some dinner and flipping channels, we stumbled across and quite by accident, yet another wonderful Michael Palin travelogue show -- this one about crossing the Sahara. AND... we managed to discover this on The Travel Channel on what had to be the first episode, so as long as we remember to tune in every Monday night, we can watch Michael show us a completely different world than the one we wander around in every day.