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Film: The Devil Wears Prada

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly, in The Devil Wears Prada, directed by David Frankel

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Lauren Weisberger, The Devil Wears Prada: A Novel

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The Devil Wears Prada, directed by David Frankel
Like Little Miss Sunshine (reviewed last week), The Devil Wears Prada is a comedy and is unlikely to receive serious attention at the Academy Awards. Monday night at the Golden Globes ceremony, however, Meryl Streep beat out Toni Collette (from Little Miss Sunshine) for the award in the category of Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. I agree that Streep was far and away the best part of this entertaining but hardly singular movie. Streep is a celebrated actress, one of my favorites, who put some effort into doing comedies, some of them not so good, to show that she was also capable of comedy. There is nothing slapstick about her performance here, as Miranda Priestly, the high-powered and ultra-demanding editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Runway. Streep brings a wicked villain to life, through the most minimal gestures and facial expressions, and manages to make her ultimately sympathetic.

You may recognize the basic story from Funny Face: a "serious" young woman accepts work in the fashion industry only as a way to get something else she wants. Aline Brosh McKenna's screenplay is adapted from the novel by Lauren Weisberger, loosely based on Weisberger's brief stint working at Vogue for editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) abandons her search for work as a journalist to become a personal assistant to the most powerful woman in fashion. Of course, she is seduced by what she formerly thought frivolous, and her boyfriend and friends stop recognizing her.

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Good supporting work comes in the roles of Andy's supervisor, Emily (Emily Blunt), and the magazine's fashion director Nigel Kipling (the always rewarding Stanley Tucci). Unfortunately, by the end of the movie, I hoped that the camera would continue to follow Miranda, having seen enough of the supposed protagonist and her back-and-forth between two equally uninteresting love interests. This is not because of Anne Hathaway, a beautiful and charming actress who did fine work. The story trades on a worn formula, which director David Frankel, whose recent work has been for similarly superficial television shows like Sex on the City, makes as interesting and entertaining as could be hoped.

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