Film Review ***: ...Devil Wears Prada... A Fashionable Comedy
Streep...s Performance is Sinfully Enjoyable
By Marissa Vogt
The Devil Wears Prada
Directed by David Frankel
Written by Aline Brosh McKenna
Based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger
Starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway
Satan is back in town, and he is extremely well-dressed — Dolce and Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Valentino, and Hermes are only some of the designers mentioned in “The Devil Wears Prada,” an enjoyable dark comedy starring Meryl Streep as the boss from Hell.
The premise of the film is familiar: Andy Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway, lands her first job, struggles to please a demanding boss, and works so hard that she forgets about the things that are truly important in life. What brings a refreshing change to the usual story is the movie’s setting, the Manhattan headquarters of fashion magazine Runway; the ‘man sells soul for financial success’ theme is updated to the even more superficial ‘girl trades hot boyfriend for pair of Manolo Blahniks.’
The heroine, Andy, is a recent graduate of Northwestern and asipiring journalist who fails to land a job at a serious publication. She settles for a job as assistant to Runway’s editor in chief, Miranda Priestly (Streep), though it is immediately obvious that Andy does not fit in at the magazine. She lacks not only a sense of fashion, but also any real appreciation for Miranda’s wicked reputation. Andy soon finds that reputation is well-deserved, and her personal life suffers as she struggles to satisfy Miranda’s outrageous (and often comical) demands.
That ridiculous behavior results in the most humorous scenes of the film, including a painfully hilarious instance where Miranda, furious with Andy for making an error, threatens to fire her unless Andy can produce copies of the seventh Harry Potter book—which is yet to be released—for Miranda’s twin daughters.
Streep’s performance is delightful but nearly wasted on such a flat character as Miranda Priestly, and the few scenes where Miranda expresses any sort of vulnerability are far too brief. In fact, she puts so much distance between herself and the other characters that it can be difficult to appreciate how much pleasure Miranda derives from torturing those around her.
It is refreshing to see Hathaway graduate from teen films like “The Princess Diaries” and “Ella Enchanted” and assume more complex characters, though her performance as an independent, grown woman is not always convincing. Though Andy assimilates into the world of couture with relative ease, Hathaway often seems like she’s trying too hard.
The plot, like most of the film’s characters, is shallow and sometimes trying, but still enjoyable. The chance to peek into the sometimes ridiculous world of fashion and its absurd personalities makes the film a light and relaxing diversion for the summer, even if it is a bit of a chick flick.