At the other end of the scale is Anne Hathaway, as loveable as always, in yet another one of her Cinderella roles. Her performance is no less effective than Streep’s, it’s just a shame to see her back in the mould she seemed to have escaped with her brilliant turn in Brokeback Mountain. Still, watching her transform into a fashionista is extremely good fun and it’s hard to think of anyone as winsomely fresh-faced for the role.
The supporting cast are equally good, with Stanley Tucci stealing the show as a bitchy fashion guru named Nigel. Tucci is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, so it’s always a treat to see him on screen, particularly when he is obviously having so much fun with the part. Another face to look out for is gorgeous newcomer Adrian Grenier as Andy’s boyfriend Nate. He is making waves in the US with his leading role in TV’s Entourage and, to look at him, you can see why. He doesn’t do much in the way of acting here, but he looks set to become a huge star.
A feast both for fashionistas and those who despise the industry, the movie often comes across as an excuse to dress its winning cast in marvellous couture creations. Director David Frankel, who made such a success of TV’s Sex and the City, has cannily recruited his fashion guru on the show, Patricia Field, to oversee the costumes. And Field certainly rises to the occasion, slathering the film in galaxy of fabulous frocks, shoes, bags, coats, scarves and jewellery. And it’s all real, with garments from designers like Valentino, Donna Karan and Galiano, as well as Chanel’s latest couture collection.
However pretty and amusing it is, The Devil Wears Prada is never more than a set of delightful parts that add up to less than they should. When in full stride it’s a lot of fun to watch, particularly as Hathaway goes from frump to glamour girl, but as you near the finish you can’t help feel slightly disappointed. All the grown-up glamour distracts temporarily from the weakness of the plot, but in the end this is not much more than a bitchier version of The Princess Bride. And for a movie with such great dress sense, it sure doesn’t know how to leave a room.
- Alistair Fairweather
The Devil Wears Prada is more about playing dress-up than grown-up, but is still a lot of fun. And haven't we all had a boss from hell?
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