Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

Kathy and I went last night to see The Devil Wears Prada, a delightfully well-written and performed comedy based on the popular novel of the same name. Meryl Streep brilliantly played the executive editor of Runway, an influential fashion magazine, and Anne Hathaway offered up a sympathetic portrayal of the protagonist suffering through a miserable but enlightening stint as Streep's assistant.

Hathaway has a captivating beauty, a really nice screen presence that held up well to the indomitable Streep. Plus journeyman Stanley Tucci more than held up his end of the show, along with the rest of the supporting cast. Despite my utter lack of interest in the fashion world it held my interest (nearly) until the end.

The movie's closing, though, was a catastrophe (spoiler alert). I haven't read the book but the director went for a chick-flicky ending where Hathaway and her boyfriend played by Entourage-lead Adrian Grenier get back together, or seem to, except he's taking a job in Boston and she's applying for journalism gigs in New York. The whole scene, and its denouement, didn't really make sense.

More annoying, after the movie spent a great deal of capital explaining to the audience why average people should care about fashion, the trite turnabout by Hathaway's character at the end seemed to belie that lengthy set up. I wonder if the Andy Sachs character in the book made such a full-blown turnabout?

In all, though, well worth the cost of admission, if only because of Streep's hilarious performance, and the emergence of the lovely Hathaway as a leading lady with whom to be reckoned.

An aside: This was the first time I'd been to the Alamo Theater out at 183 and 620, the only Alamo venue in Austin showing this particular film. It was packed, with a long line out front filled with unhappy folks who weren't clever enough to prepay for tickets online. As always, the half hour of clips collected before the previews nicely set the tone.

Many of the pre-show clips were hilarious old fashion videos from the 50s and 60s, promoting a vision of glamor that, like Streep's character, possibly has seen its day pass by. Possibly. But then, every time one thinks that's true - that the public's fascination with glamor has ended - those fantasy visions pop back up Phoenix-like from the ashes just as Streep's character did in the movie, reborn anew each generation from our own narcissism and insecurities. It was an apropos homage to the fashion world portrayed so ruthlessly in the film, and a welcome addition to the whole moviegoing experience.

No comments: