Meryl, Meryl, Meryl. She farts, and the world kisses her ass. God love 'er. Let's talk about The Devil Wears Prada. I've been poo-poo'ing it for weeks, even though I hadn't seen it (sue me). The bloggers are talking of a surefire Oscar nomination for best actress. I waved a small scarlet flag of bafflement. Then I felt guilty. I really should just go see it. Surely Streep is as ravishing as they say.
I saw it Sunday. I -- listen. The movie blows. There is no conceivable narrative or conflict. It is pornography for Generation Cosmo. It is a witless hit of fashion/girlpower heroin that will no doubt compel half its young viewing audience to struggle for the very magazine assistantship the film tries to define as soul-sucking. The main problem: the Anne Hathaway character never changes for a moment throughout the film. She just works more. She's still nice and considerate; now, she's just late for things. And might I add that there are worse tasks than flying to Paris (for free), getting (free) high-end clothes, enjoying a sterling health plan, hobnobbing with the glitterati of Manhattan, and bedding a renowned semi-hot writer, using his connections, spurning him and then still being on good terms with your lovey-dovey boyfriend.
But what can we expect from the writer of Laws of Attraction (which -- fathom this -- made Julianne Moore look like a hack) and the director of sundry Sex and the City episodes?
The film -- even though it was really about nothing -- was mostly about how robotic and remote Miranda Priestly is. The title should've been "Demonstrations of Her Steeliness." The only thought that Streep must've put into this performance was: "I'll play it low-key." The rest is autopilot. And now she's being heaped with praise for a one-note parlor trick. Yes, it's fun to watch Meryl vamp. She does it all the time in the movies, and real life. But vamping involves revving and rolling and reversals. Priestly is a flatlining character. Meryl will not be nominated for it.
OK, yes, she has two moments of "vulnerability." But in these moments, we get a glimpse of what's really inside the character: the screenwriter's panic to anchor the film to something. Look, she's human! Except she's the devil! Now let's watch a sequence involving her assistant trying to procure the next Harry Potter book!
Yikes. That ain't cinema. That's dollar signs. That's Disney Channel. That's Christy Carlson Romano shit. As Roger Ebert so deftly put it, that's "Don Brown, Boy Announcer."
Or, as I'll put it, that's all.
Related posts: Cover girls: Meryl to Charlize. The Independent on La Streep.
Also: The funniest thing I've read all week.
Next post: Little Miss Sunshine = great fun.