Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

There was a scene early in ‘The Devil wears Prada’ where our intrepid heroine Andy Sachs, as played by Anne Hathaway had to take a call for her new horrific boss Miranda Priestly, performed by the legendary Meryl Streep.  Andy has been instructed to put all important calls through to Ms. Priestly and take messages for all lesser calls, or suffer the consequences.  Upon receiving a call from something or someone called Gabbana, our dowdy, fashion challenged, barely attractive heroine got a post-it, took a message then hung up the phone.  A large section of the test audience laughed mightily at that, me not being one of them as similar to Andy I too am dowdy, fashion challenged, and barely attractive.  However, by the end of the movie, Andy will become a knockout, statuesque, beautiful fashion maven, while I left the theater the same way I came in still not knowing what the hell a Gabbana is.  Sucks for me.

Based on a novel, which by all accounts is poorly written, by Lauren Weisberger who served as an assistant to notorious Vogue editor Anna Wintour, ‘The Devil’ follows Andy as she takes on New York in an effort to land a job at the New York Times and begin a career as a ‘serious’ journalist, but accepts a job in the interim at Runway magazine because of the doors she hopes it will open for her.  What she ends up with is a brutal primer on business ethics, back stabbing, social climbing, the publishing ethos, and the desperate desire for success and the steep price that can result from that desire.

Despite the fact I have no idea what a Gabanna is, other than it must be some kind of designer or what not, I still found the ‘The Devil wears Prada’ entertaining, if only mildly so.  The main problem I had with the film was that Steeps’ Priestly was so mean and so evil and so duplicitous, that the level of loyalty and devotion given to her by Andy, who barely knows this evil shrew, is almost completely unwarranted.  I know we all want to please our bosses, but how about a pat on the back or an attaboy or something!  Andy even manages to secure an as yet published Harry Potter manuscript (as if) for Miranda’s twin daughters, and the only benefit it had was saving her job.  This of course was put in jeopardy because of Andy’s inability to convince the Coast Guard to fly Miranda out of Miami in the middle of a hurricane.  The relationship actually calls to mind that of abuser and abusee.  As most victims of abuse tend to cater to the one abusing to avoid being abused.  But Andy seemed to have good relationships with her father, boyfriend and personal friends which made it even more difficult to understand her unrequited devotion to Miranda.

Again, mildy entertaining, though you could remove Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway and replace them with Nancy McKeon and Lyndsay Wagner and the Devil Wears Prada would be quite at home on Lifetime or Oxygen or some other TV channel.  Of course, a lot of the subject matter was lost on me.  Hell, I don’t even know what ‘Prada’ is.  So until they make a flick called ‘The Devil wears Hush Puppies’, I may not ever get it. 

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