I finally rented this movie a couple of nights ago. I suppose that makes me behind the wave, but I think perhaps it gave me more perspective than those who raved about its fantastic clothing and fast-paced lifestyle portrayal of the fashion industry.
I found very, very little redeeming in this poorly cobbled-together script. Anne Hathaway plays a young woman who lands a highly coveted internship with a fashion magazine (like Vogue or Elle). This is despite her bookish looks and dowdy clothes. She struggles with the incessant psychic perfectionism her vindictive boss (Meryl Streep) demands, then finally decides, with the help of Stanley Tucci, to give herself a makeover and succeed in her position. Her newfound enthusiasm gains her points at the office but upsets her boyfriend and comrades.
All predictable in its own way but it fails. The friends, in the same scene, are both excited when she brings them swag from work (a $1900 purse, etc) and then they mock her. She gets mad and leaves but she never truly stands up for herself. She doesn’t remind them that the whole point of this internship to gain the experience she needs to land the job of her dreams.
The characters don’t make sense. They have inconsistent moralities. They are upset and react to the wrong things, and skip what they ought to be worried about. Clearly, their lines and actions are only there to move the plot to a pre-determined ending. Tucci is the only one who manages to find a character buried in there and brings it out as best he can.
And all those clothes? There aren’t that many. There is one short scene at a fashion show.
Streep wears nothing particularly stunning. Hathaway’s office-mate looks like a tramp who has been made over by a gang of angry raccoons. As for Hathaway‘s “make-over”, she looks ridiculous, like she has been playing in her mother’s closet. One dress, that she wears for the benefit at the end, finally looks nice. But we are so abandoned by her character that it doesn’t really matter. Her supposed change of heart, too, comes far too late and is half-hearted at best.
It doesn’t achieve satire. It doesn’t present any extremes, good or bad. It just kinda lays there, like a thrown-together ensemble splayed on the bed.