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The Devil Wears Prada DVD

Your October 2007 UMC Results Are In!

Tagline: Hell on Heels.

Preshow Entertainment: Doug Stanhope: No Refunds


The Preshow Entertainment was a performance by comedian Doug Stanhope called NO REFUNDS. Admittedly, I didn't know what his act was like (I mean, he's only been doing it for 17 years), but I did know him from THE ARISTOCRATS and his killer telling of the joke to the baby. That moment was all I needed to know I'd like this guy.

Comedian Doug Stanhope
A chain smoking, chain beer guzzling, chain bitter, sniping stand-up, he reminded me of how rough comedy can and often should be. Just get on stage and spew. Get mad, get angry, be funny. It was refreshing to watch a comedian not talk about how men don't want to ask for directions and how they leave the toilet seat up. Stanhope gets in there and gets his hands dirty. He's Lisa Lampanelli unpolished, he's Lewis Black and George Carlin resigned to how shitty the world is rather than throwing a tantrum. He just sells himself, which means he's not for everyone. But he was for me.

And now, our feature presentation:

Everyone talks about how Meryl Streep is an amazing actress. And she is. Yet it's been an awful long time since her Sophies and Silkwoods. But maybe that was the plan. Maybe the devil was in the details.

Two-time Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep stars as Miranda Priestly, the editor of Runway magazine.

In THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, Streep plays her character Miranda Priestly like she's Nurse Ratched in a world of McMurphys. Cold, steely, and prickly, one gets the feeling a serial killer has more compassion for their victims. When she enters the building people take different elevators or turn on their high heels and run. They scutter manically, like teens seeing their parents coming up the walk while trying to hide the remnants of the party they weren't supposed to have. Miranda is a shark and everyone else goldfish'n'guppies. But this story isn't about her, the same way that the best stories are not about the villain. They're about the hero.

Anne Hathaway as Bambi-eyed Andy Sachs
As in THE PRINCESS DIARIES, the lovely Anne Hathaway is once again the Bambi-eyed innocent girl who finds herself in situations bigger than life and in waters unknown. She's Andy Sachs, newly minted Northwestern grad who, a la UGLY BETTY, naively stumbles into the offices of fashion mag Runway where she lands the job that "millions of girls would die for" - 2nd Assistant to editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly. No matter how many bad, nutty, and/or strict bosses you've had, if you mixed them all in a bowl Miranda can eat it for breakfast. But Andy won't let herself be broken down. She accepts the challenge.

And of course in doing so, her life changes. Her friends start getting mad at her, her boyfriend Nate (ENTOURAGE's Adrian Grenier...hottie or nottie?) feels neglected, and her dad cautions her. But with the help of Runway's lovable and sensitive (read: gay) art director Nigel (the prolific and almost always great Stanley Tucci), Andy soldiers on.

Emily Blunt stars as Emily, the harried first assistant to an imperious magazine editor.
If Miranda is the devil, then her 1st Assistant Emily (Emily Blunt) is her minion. Emily tries so hard. Too hard. She has little patience for Andy and for herself as well, for her eyes are on the prize. In this case the prize is going to Paris with Miranda to attend all the shows and parties and meet everyone who's everyone. She even has a picture of Paris as her screensaver. (Andy's screensaver, by the way, is a blossoming flower).

In a moment of vulnerability, Miranda cracks her shell open just a teeny bit and tells Andy of her upcoming divorce. And in that moment, Andy sees the humanity behind Miranda's eyes. She's in there somewhere, hidden away in a deep mine. And for a brief moment, the devil is not wearing Prada. In fact, the emperor has no clothes (she's literally in a robe and without any make-up).

Nigel (Stanley Tucci) begins one of his most difficult tasks: a makeover for newbie, fashion-challenged assistant Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway).
PRADA is surely about a young girl rising to the challenge and learning life lessons. But the lesson it really offers is - life is all about choices, and sometimes the choice you make can affect others. She chooses to get ahead in business, which trickles down to her ignoring her friends, missing Nate's birthday, etc. But when she must choose between being let go and going to Paris with Miranda (which would mean Emily's career and dreams may slowly die), well, that's the biggie. But she made a deal with the devil, and we all know what that means. But can this be one of those rare occasions where the devil doesn't win? Surely you remember what happened when he went down to Georgia.

I had a few problems with the choices made in this movie. It's clearly stated that if Andy lasts a year at Runway she can have any job she wants. Why does Nate have so much trouble understanding this? And why isn't Andy reminding him? "Nate, I love you! Just put up with a few more months of my nutty behavior and when the smoke clears you and I are set for life!" Why didn't she say that?
Andy's (Anne Hathaway) transformation into an über-efficeint fashionista does not please her boyfriend Nate (Adrian Grenier).
And who wouldn't understand that and support her decision? And why, mere seconds after she gives her friends thousands of dollars of designer freebies do they turn against her for taking...a phone call? She's in a high stress job that demands a lot of her attention. But no, her boyfriend's a wimp and her friends suck. If the point was that when the year ends Andy would still be wearing Prada and therefore become a devil, well, that wasn't clear at all.

I understand the movie was a pretty good adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's Chick Lit book (how the hell would I know???). Weisberger was an assistant to Vogue's notorious editor Anna Wintour, who supposedly attended a screening wearing Prada.

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA is not a groundbreaking film. It's pretty routine with nothing too surprising. If you close your eyes and listen, you may actually think it's a Disney movie with Bambi, Cruella De Vil, a lovable, wise-cracking side-kick, a sinister love interest, and Prince Charming. And Andy has no mother.

But like any designer outfit, it's all about how it looks when it's put together. And if not for the high-end talented ensemble made of Streep, Hathaway, Tucci and Blunt, the movie might have been called THE DEVIL WEARS JORDACHE.

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