Anne Hathaway has successfully made the transition from kid star to serious actor. With her big eyes and innocent smile, she was the perfect candidate for "The Princess Diaries." She followed that family hit up with three PG-rated movies, a G-rated flick and two cartoons. Since 2005 though, things has changed. Having apparently realized that you can only stay in family-mode for so long, she has starred in "Havoc," "Brokeback Mountain" and now "The Devil Wears Prada," and has cemented herself as a worthwhile adult actor.
"The Devil Wears Prada" is by no means a serious film, but it is a film that continues to proves Hathaway can hold her own when there are no princesses, fairies or cartoons involved. In fact, she holds up pretty well against Meryl Streep, who dominates every scene in the movie. The two actresses play well off one another, especially in the first half of the film when Hathway is more innocent and Streep is, as she is throughout the film, a pure out bitch.
Enough about Hathaway. "The Devil Wears Prada" is an entertaining and funny comedy. It has a fairly predictable plot, but that matters little when the story is about an innocent girl battling an evil snow queen at a top fashion magazine. The plot is predictable in that the movie is about a young woman who starts off being herself, but, to succeed and prove everyone wrong, becomes one of the people she originally hated, distancing her friends, family and boyfriend in the process. Of course, by the end, you know everything is going to work out for the better.
"Devil" succeeds in that it keeps things simple and knows what works and what doesn't. The fashion industry is perfect fodder for a film of this type, where the industry (or at least the magazine in question) is ruled by one queen bee. The movie is about the characters, not the plot, and director David Frankel knows this. Streep is the perfect choice for Miranda Priestly, a woman who runs the magazine "Runway," whose opinion dictates what lives and what dies in the fashion world, who has two assistants who live in constant fear of her, who never replies to questions and who assumes everyone knows what she's thinking. In a classic sequence, Priestly forces her assistant (Hathaway) to find a copy of the yet unpublished "Harry Potter 7" for her twins, all within three hours.
This review is sort of rambling on without any rhyme or reason - I'm trying to watch another movie at the same time. "Devil" is an enjoyable comedy that never becomes too dramatic and, for the most part, stays away from chick flick clichés. The relationship strains between Hathaway and "Entourage's" Adrian Grenier aren't given much screen time, and instead the comedic exchanges between the two lead actresses are the sole focus. Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt also deliver good performances in supporting roles.
"The Devil Wears Prada" isn't the funniest movie out there, and there are times where it certainly could have been funnier. Still, it is consistently entertaining from beginning to end, and Meryl Streep is an icon to behold.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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