“The Devil Wears Prada”
20th Century Fox
This is a formulaic tale about a naïve young woman who nearly loses her soul after being caught up in the bitchy world of fashion. I don’t know what all the carrying on has been about, because “The Devil Wears Prada” is just a tired bunch of clichéd characters and soap-opera acting that is saved occasionally by too-rare moments of dark drama. Anne Hathaway does all the heavy lifting as Andy, the recent journalism grad who miraculously gets the job “a million girls would kill for,” as assistant to the editor of a fictional magazine.
We get it: “Runway” is “Vogue,” and the dragon-lady boss Miranda (Meryl Streep) is Anna Wintour. Miranda is immediately introduced to us as an impossible boss whose demands are unreasonable and often humiliating, causing terror among the staff. But Streep is rather unremarkable—like the chilly silent glances she shoots at her drones when she doesn’t get what she wants. Andy starts to look the part in an instant, mind you, after stylist Nigel (Stanley Tucci) dresses her up only once with the magazine’s freebie wardrobe, and then—BOOM—she’s fab! Andy becomes so good, in fact, that she starts believing in and liking her job (here comes the subplot right up Madison Avenue), but her skeptical friends and boorish boyfriend (“Entourage” eye-candy Adrian Grenier) want the old Andy back.
“The Devil Wears Prada” is about as cutting as Grey Poupon on a saltine. You’re expecting tart, but after the first bite, all you have is a bland cracker.
“Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”
On paper, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly might appear to be an unlikely comedy team, but somehow they pull it off in “Talladega Nights.” And as a bonus, Ferrell once again runs around in his tighty-whities.
Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) didn’t learn much from his absentee alcoholic dad but he did learn one thing: If you’re not first, you’re last. It ain’t Shakespere, but it is funny. Growing up with a need for speed, Ricky Bobby finally realizes his dream of being the fastest thing around when he’s offered the chance to go from pit crew to the driver’s seat. With his lifelong best friend Cal Naughton, Jr. (Reilly) watching his back, Ricky Bobby becomes the best driver on the NASCAR circuit.
With his first-place finishes, a trophy wife (Leslie Bibb) and two bratty boys are all Ricky Bobby needs to be happy. But his perfect life changes when a gay French Formula One racer (scene stealer Sacha Baron Cohen) challenges his place in NASCAR history.
“Talladega Nights” tells a surprisingly sweet story mixed in with all of its sketch comedy diversions and loaded sight gags. In addition to the gag reel, deleted scenes and other featurettes, the DVD commentary track is just about as good as the film itself. Ferrell, Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Koechner, Jack McBrayer and Adam McKay (as his son Darnell) take part in the commentary track, discussing the film as though they’re celebrating its 25th anniversary. Let’s pray we live to see it.