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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada — DVD Review

Previews of The Devil Wears Prada suggested little more than a typical comedy. Yet, the surprisingly enjoyable picture offered at least a glimpse of some real character development.

Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway) heads into the business world with her degree in journalism in hand and full of ideals. She ends up working as a second assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), head of Runway magazine. Andrea decides to suffer through what she deems the absurdities of the fashion world for a while for the connections and resume boost working for the shrew Priestly brings. She soon adapts quite well, but faces the reality that success means truly joining the world she once mocked.

Usually these types of films have a clear-cut rooting interest for the audience as hope abounds that the protagonist will come to her senses and follow her better instincts. I honestly didn’t want Sachs to “do the right thing” as I watched, and her eventual loyalty to Priestly was intriguing. There’s a real change in the character that leaves the ending in some doubt.

Streep did a great job of playing the boss from hell. As over-the-top as she was at times, there was never a moment where she seemed fake. There’s even a nice touch at the end that offers the character depth without the aw-shucks feel that would have signified it gone too far.

There were a few pitfalls for The Devil Wears Prada. The attempted coup on Priestly, which brought out Sachs’ loyalty, was a bit complicated for a light-hearted film. Sachs’ transformation into a fashion plate, even with the help she got from Nigel (Stanley Tucci), the magazine's art director, seemed questionable based on her presumed finances.

Tucci and Hathaway were fine, but didn’t especially standout. Priestly’s first assistant, Emily (Emily Blunt), was pretty good and managed to be more than a prop for Sachs.

The Devil Wears Prada doesn’t set the world on fire, but was not bad at all.

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