Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Devil Makes People Watch this Movie

People who believe in simplicity and integrity do not make movies like The Devil Wears Prada, with its predictable Princess Diaries–goes–to–Condé Nast template, unearned moral superiority, ubiquitous pop-song-infused montages, and ugly-duckling heroine who is neither ugly nor a duckling. It’s bizarre when all the Runway employees wrinkle their noses at Andrea instead of realizing that, with her long legs and neck and skinny face and big, dark eyes, she’s pure Runway.--New York Magazine review of The Devil Wears Prada

Amen. I saw The Devil Wears Prada this weekend, and though I wasn't expecting anything phenomenal, the film bothered me for its combination of false morality and absolute improbablility. Things that bothered me include (but aren't limited to):

  • the attempt at trying to pass Ann Hathaway off as a frumpy, size 6 (the horror!) bland-looking woman. if she is ugly and fat, what are the rest of us?
  • the fact that the film was unsure of whether to critique the fashion industry or laugh it off. either way, it came off as a muddled portrayal, with the cruelties of the fashion industry (you're fat, you dress terribly) passed off as a joke on the main character. boy, if i could take that joke, i would have skin as thick as iron!
  • the logic that a woman who was editor of the university newspaper at one of the nation's best journalism school's, Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, wouldn't be able to find a job more up her alley. it made a bit of sense that she might apply to the fictional version of Condé-Nast because the publication company also owns the more substantive New Yorker, but most people who are interested in print journalism and have such strong qualifications go on to get jobs that allow them to write.
  • the utter ignorance this film had to money revealed in the jabs at main character Andy's (Hathaway) tastes in clothing--jabs which came not just from the fashion folks but by her friends--as if affordability doesn't come into play for a recent college graduate when buying clothes, even one a little more fashion savvy.
  • the precarious glorification of the values of the fashion industry when Hathaway's character starts wearing couture and becomes a size 4! (i thought she was already a 0?). at the same time, we are to believe that Hathaway is above it all and that this supposedly smart, ethical woman would demean herself by fetching coffee for a fashion diva.
  • and even though it wasn't Roger Ebert's most astute review of a film, his singly astute observation in his critique of The Devil Wears Prada was that Adrian Grenier should have played the hip author that Hathaway perennially runs into rather than play her college boyfriend, as he is more hipster chic.
Let me know what you thought of the movie or if you had better ones to see, such as An Inconvenient Truth, aka The Al Gore Movie. (I think that has become its unintented subtitle).

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