If you want to see famous movie stars parading about in expensive clothing and acting snooty without watching the Oscars, The Devil Wears Prada is the film for you. Joking aside, the 2006 comedy was an unexpected success on its release, grossing over 300 million dollars worldwide and garnering two Oscar nominations (for lead actress Meryl Streep and costume designer Patricia Field). Its snappy screenplay and impressive performances elevated the light-weight comedy to decent reviews as well, providing a reasonably entertaining time.
Andrea Sachs, recent graduate pursuing a career in journalism, manages to get hired as an assistant to the terrifying editor for Runway magazine, Miranda Priestly. As Andrea struggles to navigate the confusing and often unkind fashion industry, she finds herself slowly losing her integrity to meet the needs of her demanding job. Will Andrea realize that her friends and family are more important than her work? (Hint: It's a chick flick)
While bolstered with cliches, The Devil Wears Prada is breezy and fun. The cast is clearly enjoying themselves, and their energy is enough to engage the audience. The first 30 minutes in particular have a rapid pace to its comedy, which gets the film ticking right off the bat, though it eventually loses some of that initial buzz.
Meryl Streep's Oscar nomination for this performance is debatable (if not for a scene where she "uglifies" herself by appearing sans makeup she likely wouldn't have been honored at all). But it's hard to doubt her effectiveness. Streep is truly delicious in her cold, snobby, yet quiet turn here as the impossible-to-please fashion editor, and she makes the most of every scene she's in. Playing opposite of Streep is Anne Hathaway, who gives a likable, yet thankless performance as the newcomer to the world of fashion. Emily Blunt is highly entertaining as Miranda's snooty co-assistant, and the always delightful Stanley Tucci is more charming than either Simon Baker or Adrian Grenier.
There's no denying the film's numerous issues. It's fluffy, which isn't a problem until the filmmakers attempt to inject some weight into the proceedings about 45 minutes in, slowing the film down and never fully recovering. And its satirical look at the fashion industry tries to parody consumerism before eventually becoming consumed itself by it. Not to mention that it's far too long at nearly 2 hours in length. Nonetheless, The Devil Wears Prada is an enjoyable comedy that supplies the laughs, smarts, and strong performances to earn a solid recommendation.
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