Hathaway, Streep, and the always-hot Tucci (even when playing an effete fashionista).
Plus check out that FAB plaid suit.
Why add my voice to so many others regarding this trifling film? Two words: Meryl and Streep. She makes a meal out of the Anna Wintour-inspired Miranda Priestly and perhaps invents a way of chewing scenery through understatement. Honest. Directors have finally figured out that she's a terrific comedic actor, and "Devil" gives her plenty of time to show off by not showing off. The scene where she quietly dresses Anne Hathaway down by detailing the fashion history behind the color of Hathaway's shitty bargain basement sweater is worth the price of admission all by itself. And now on to destroy the rest of the film.
The above-mentioned scene is the keystone to why the film ultimately doesn't work because it economically reveals what the film could have been but is not: well-written and featuring a fully-realized protagonist. Anne Hathaway fails utterly to project the necessary intelligence required for this character. That's the acting failure. The above scene also shows the writing failure (which is expected, mind you, since this is a Hollywood movie), because if the Hathaway character were truly as smart as the script tells us ad nauseum, then Streep's explication of the genealogy of the color of Hathaway's sweater would make sense to her and this scene would be her "Ah-ha" moment. It is not. Rather it is the "Ah-ha" moment for the audience as we watch the film dispose of itself so neatly, because if the quality of the writing in this scene, or I should say in Streep's monologue, were indicative of rather than in exception to the rest of the movie, we might have had something really cool. Instead, we get yet another workmanlike retread of a Cinderella story with a half-hearted feminist twist. The subplot involving Hathaway's friends and boyfriend is so pathetic and perfunctory that it's this side of unbelievable, and certainly on the other side of involving in any way. The film seems constantly unsure of what to do next--except when Streep or Stanley Tucci (as Streep's right-hand man cum tart fairy godmother to Hathaway) are on screen--or even of who the Hathaway character is. It does not have a consistent opinion of the value of fashion, the value of Hathaway's experience under Streep, or even the value of Hathaway's independence. This is the kind of shitty "writing" that occurs these days--an enterprise done by committee, product placement, moronic producers, and test audiences. In other words it's less writing than a projection of a hive mind.
Anyway, it's nice to see Streep doing her thing, even if it is often over a cardboard cup emblazoned with a STARBUCKS logo, when such a character would never drink that coffee and certainly would not drink it out of a cardboard cup. And that image represents the coalescence--perhaps the apotheosis, perhaps an obsolescence--of how narrative, character, and art will always experience the wobble introduced by the powerful gravitational field of economics. Quel reprise, Hollywood.