The Devil Wears Prada review by Jackass Tom

While on an overseas flight to Japan (for work other than, I viewed two movies that just recently hit DVD. Ironically both movies (this movie and Click) were about people who were so overworked that they pretty much chose to work over spending time with their family or surrogate family (this seems to be a 2006 theme as another movie I saw RV also has the same theme). In Click, Sandler’s character simply learns that he made a mistake by working so hard and forgetting his family. The Devil Wears Prada has a slightly deeper lesson.

I’m sure by now you have all heard of The Devil Wears Prada. The movie is based on the best selling book, about a boss from hell. Veronica Priestly (Meryl Streep) is the chief and editor of Runway magazine, the book (month to month) on fashion. It is her job to be judge, jury and executioner with regards to current fashion. If she doesn’t like it, that means its no good.

She runs through assistants like Kleenex because her demands on her assistants are as strong as her demands for good fashion. Her latest assistant is sort of the anti-Runway girl. Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is a smart Northwestern graduate who doesn’t want to be in the fashion industry so much as she does a great journalist. Runway magazine is not her first choice (judging by her frumpy dressing and attitude towards high-fashion), but being just out of college she will take what she can get. And Miranda gives it to her. She gives short orders and never likes to repeat herself, let alone elaborate. Andy is just supposed to “know” what she is talking about. She wants her coffee as hot as brimstone, and sometimes even demands the unbelievable. At one point she demands a copy of a yet to be published Harry Potter book.

The threat of being fired keeps Andy at the office more than at home as she bends to all of Miranda’s demands. Or is it that Andy never wants to be defeated? As the movie progresses it seems like Andy wants less to “not be fired” than she does to let the demanding Miranda win. She knows that Priestly’s word carries a lot of weight in the magazine industry, so if she wants a good future it seems she is will to sacrifice her present.

While watching this movie and Meryl Streep I couldn’t help but think it was Swimming with Sharks-lite. The buildup was how much of a terrible boss, Miranda Priestly was and made her life a living hell. The comparison to a movie like Swimming with Sharks therefore is inevitable. Having seen Swimming with Sharks I couldn’t help but think “this must be the feminine version.” And to some extent it was. Hathaway is played with mentally and emotionally, but was never really given a good yelling. Her clothing styles are criticized endlessly, she is requested at all hours of the day and night, and she is requested to do outrageous things. When she failed, she was insulted at low monotone volume. I kept thinking “been there, done that.” For a movie that was billed and sold as “this boss is a real bitch,” I couldn’t help it be a bit disappointed.

But on the other hand, there are a lot of things I liked better about this movie. The way it ended was a bit more satisfactory than something like Sharks. Andy realizes that in the 9 months she worked at Runway that she had learned a lot about how a magazine runs and even more about what it takes to be the best. She doesn’t just merely quit and say “I’m never going to do that again”, but takes the valuable knowledge that she learned from the hard-grading Miranda and becomes a better person. We also learn a lot more about Miranda and why she is such a pain in the ass. The other characters like Nigel (Stanley Tucci; who I never really cared for before but thought he nailed the part with authority) have a good deal of depth. Overall it was a pretty good movie about becoming a better person after persevering nine months of insanity.

6 out of 10 Jackasses
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