Jonathan Poritsky

Review: The Devil Wears Prada

“Everyone wants to be like us”

Now come on folks, let’s be hon­est, this film is every bit of the pile of schlock you were expect­ing it to be. BUt soak it up and enjoy this age of chick-lit were liv­ing in. There are prob­a­bly a thou­sand mem­oirs a day penned in this city we call gotham, the big apple, new york. But for some rea­son, it is the sto­ries of inter­nal suc­cess that always break through the mold, and lately, women have been doing a bet­ter job of get­ting those ideas out of their heads and onto the page. As a sec­ond wave of this shock, we’re being hit with adorable films that warm our hearts. For those head­ing to the megaplexes this week­end, enjoy “The Nanny Diaries”.But let’s talk about this film I caught a year too late on HBO just now. Everyone said the same thing upon this film’s release, and I am here to echo them. While the nar­ra­tive slips away from lucid­ity hold­ing onto teeny tiny hooks of inter­est, the screen is lit up by Meryl Streep’s deli­cious per­for­mance. While I have always enjoyed the accom­plished actresses’ body of work, it was only after her Golden Globe award speech for “Adaptation.” that I really began to con­sider her a cre­ative force to be reck­oned with. In it, while pay­ing respect to Charlie Kaufman’s script for the film, plead to the writ­ers in the room to keep giv­ing them inter­est­ing parts because actors really are inter­est­ing people.Her role as Miranda Priestly reaf­firms this fact of how inter­est­ing she can really get on screen. Ms. Streep was given a role of incred­i­ble extremes and she man­ages to slip into them with incred­i­ble nuance. She is a bitch, but she is one that, even when we must con­sider her an antag­o­nist, is able to bring us in and care for her. IN fact, one of the inter­est­ing point of the film, is that even when she humil­i­ates those around her in an effort to bet­ter her own career, we can feel for her and even agree with her actions.I praise Ms. Streep so strongly because it is so obvi­ous that the script is devoid of any of these fas­ci­nat­ing moments of inter­ac­tion between char­ac­ter and audi­ence. The script is just plain awful, with ter­ri­ble lines in a plot that no one really needs to care about. In fact if you mull over this film for awhile to check out what in fact moves the action for­ward, what you’ll find, if any­thing, is the incred­i­bly trite con­cept of a girl and her boys. Then again, I am the first to admit that wom­ens’ films/books/tv show oper­ate on a dif­fer­ent wave­length than I can com­pre­hend. In fact, many prob­a­bly came in drove just to see the fashion-porn within the film: funky music played while th cam­era makes love to shoes and scarves.There is, how­ever, one other thing that makes the film a fun evening. Stanley Tucci, as always com­mits him­self beyond repair to a role that should be noth­ing more than a foot­note. I con­sider Tucci to be one of those actors that will be stud­ied after we’re all dead (along with Ms. Streep of course). He’s one of those incred­i­ble char­ac­ter actors who can actu­ally play any char­ac­ter. I only recently dis­cov­ered I have loved his work for at least half my life, ever since I saw him play Muerte, the bum­bling street thug in “Undercover Blues” from 1993. His grace and style in this part are well beyond many of the finer lead­ing roles being shelled out these days, and for that, Mr. Tucci, I thank you.So if we’ve got two won­der­ful per­for­mances, and a decent cast all around, what could be wrong with this film? Well, for one it looks like it was lit inside of a KINO bulb, not to men­tion the awful com­posit­ing work. The direc­tor, David Frankel, seems to have very lit­tle coher­ence with the story. Then again, per­haps he had stu­dio suits breath­ing down his neck scream­ing “More Fashion Porn!”. Who knows? But good for him; a suc­cess­ful B.O. and bevy of awards landed him yet another best­seller adap­ta­tion. Who can wait for next year’s “Marley & Me”, the true story of a bad dog and his lov­ing owner?In the end, I love wit­ness­ing a good per­for­mance, and I’ve trained myself well enough to snatch a peek at one even through poor direc­tion. I was given two great ones here, sur­rounded by a wealth of admirable ones. Of note among them is Tracie Thoms’ lim­ited screen time. I loved her in “Rent” and was amazed by her in “Death Proof”; the tawdry lines offered her came off smooth and nice.See it. What the hell else are you doing with your time?—Watching:8MM8MM

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