Sep 14, 2006|
If at least one fabulous outfit in this movie does not move you, then you have no soul. Or perhaps taste. “The Devil Wears Prada” evolved from the best-selling book of the same name in which a young assistant is hounded and harassed by a vicious magazine editor. The thin veneer of fiction did little to disguise the fact that author Laura Weisberger spent a year as the assistant to notorious US Vogue editor, Anna Wintour.
Based on the tribulations of fictional fashion harpy Miranda Priestley’s unlikely assistant, Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway), the wafer-thin plot balances on the struggle between Andy’s small-town integrity and her big city ambitions. Priestley (Meryl Streep) hisses orders day and night, both piffling and impossible, and the increasingly well-dressed Andy (whose post-makeover wardrobe is sponsored largely by Chanel) is slowly sucked into the fashion vortex. Will Andy trade her soul to keep “the job a million girls would kill for”? Poor Andy also has to choose between her two romantic interests: the impossibly hirsute Adrian Grenier (of “Entourage”) as the live-in boyfriend and rugged Australian blonde Simon Baker as the suave literary seducer.
But screw the men. “The Devil Wears Prada” is essentially fashion porn, with some outside titillation arriving in the form of voyeuristic and humorous peeps into the hateful world of haute couture. The plot is flimsy but the movie is rescued by some flawless casting. Hathaway’s dewy-eyed warmth and newborn-foal physique prove a great foil to the sleek, yet insecure world of fashion, personified by Streep, who steals the movie with her icy aloofness. Stanley Tucci, meanwhile takes a good turn as Nigel, Priestley’s downtrodden fashion assistant.
The movie successfully pursues form over content, almost bulldozing said lack of story out of the frame. Costume designer Patricia Field and director David Frankel (both from “Sex and the City”) have had a lot of fun making the movie that Vogue publisher Conde Nast wants no one to watch, and it's very watchable indeed.
Best Bit: When the frumpy protagonist is frog-marched to the magazine’s legendary wardrobe room by Nigel and, to the sounds of Madonna’s “Vogue,” is Chanel-ified and Jimmy Choo-ed up. The audience, in true Hong Kong style, claps unreservedly.