2006-07-21 / Columnists


'The Devil Wears Prada' - Terrible At The Top
By Robert Snyder

The ultimate chick flick features the ultimate boss from Hell. She's fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) of "The Devil Wears Prada" and far more terrifying than Sigourney Weaver's character in 1988's "Working Girl."

Why?Because Priestly is ice cold, blasting rapid-fire orders in a sweet little breathless voice, finalizing her pronouncements in a simple, but deadly "That's all." Weaver in "Working Girl" is nasty, bitchy, yet stupid and sloppy... doomed to be swallowed up by a less educated girl from the secretarial pool. Priestly's evil is on the topmost level, one that takes no prisoners and absorbs souls. There is no carelessness and no mistakes with Miranda Priestly.Yet, she is Streep at her comedic best.

Directed by "Sex and the City's" David Frankel, "Devil" is a wild and a crazy tour through the world of high fashion and higher tension. The pawn who becomes haute-couture princess Andy Sachs is played by Anne Hathaway, a part that would have gone to Julia Roberts a decade ago.

Fresh out of journalism school, Andy auditions for the job of second assistant to Priestly, the high priestess of Runway Magazine," aka Vogue (the Aline Brosh McKenna screenplay was based on the novel by Lauren Weisenberger, onetime aide to the fashion bible's powerhouse editor Anna Wintour).

Dubbed "a pitiful little person" by Runway's deputy editor Nigel (the always perfect Stanley Tucci), Andy at first seems to be all wrong for the job. In fact, she cares little for clothes, never read Runaway, much less heard of Priestly. Miranda hires her because her first assistant, the ever-frustrated, upwardly-mobile Emily (Emily Blunt), previously picked empty-headed fashion plates.

Andy may be a size six (aka "fat"), but she's smart. She proves this again and again, even securing the newest Harry Potter book for Miranda's twin girls before publication. Pulling chic clothes from the Runway rack, Andy soon develops into a mini-Miranda...a fact that proves horrifying to her former friends and, finally, herself.

As one audience member remarked, "This is a Hollywood formula picture, so you know how it's going to end."

Still, formula or not, "The Devil Wears Prada" is slick, polished entertainment with the world's finest actress taking comedy very seriously and making it work.

Check out "Devil" and realize that souls are sold for the sake of the most superficial, faster than underwear off the rack.


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