Friday, May 27, 2011

Movie Review: Prada to Nada

Normally a contemporary-set movie review doesn't grace this blog however I found out about From Prada to Nada from my participation in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentennial Challenge at Austenprose.  This chick flick is a modern adaption of Sense and Sensibility and follows the same basic story: two sisters are left with nothing excluding the hospitality of friends after their father's untimely death.  But while they are adjusting to their new lives they must also adjust to the complications of dealing with the new cute boys who walk into them.

Sisters, Nora (Camilla Belle) and Mary (Alexa Vega) are both used to living the good life in LA and are totally unaware of their Mexican roots that their father is so proud of.  However when he is suddenly killed by a heart attack Nora, a law student, and Mary, a shopaholic must live with their aunt and her Spanish-speaking brood in East LA.  Instead of the sounds of the seaside like the Dashwood sisters the unfortunate Dominguez sisters are destined to the sounds of gunshots ringing through the air.  How ghastly!

From Prada to Nada is marketed as a Latina Sense and Sensibility which is apparent but not heavily so, because while it follows the same plotline familiar to Austenites, it is also laden with the theme of being connected to your culture.  While Elinor's gentle, stoic personality makes her such a silent main character in the book, her equivalent, Nora is more silent in regard to experiencing life.  She is focused on being a law student but at the same time has the Elinor quality of being devoted to family.  Interesting enough, while Marianne's ups and downs seem to take a major precedence in the book due to Marianne's loud personality, From Prada to Nada focuses more on the ups and downs of Nora and Edward Ferris' (yes that is his name) relationship.  I found that especially interesting because it seems like the Willoughby not writing back in London drama could write itself (he hasn't been texting me!) but the movie was totally void of that altogether. 

You won't find any monumental acting in the movie nor any great writing; it's up to par with the kind of acting/writing you would expect from any girls' sleepover movie.  I had seen Camilla Belle before in The Ballad of Jack and Rose with Daniel Day-Lewis and she did a much better job in that at a much younger age.  So I am inclined to think the director had every intention for the movie to take on a simple, light-hearted feel.

From Prada to Nada is silly, unrealistic, and far from winning any Oscars.  However I thought it was very cute, and appealed to my inner girly, I-love-happy-endings side.  Which is probably what drew me to Austen to begin with!  The word to describe it is "cute" and it would be a good movie for a girls' night in or for a relaxing night to yourself.  Anyone with high expectations or a jaded inclination should probably avoid this movie; but then again I would categorize myself as that so perhaps just a cheesy movie mood will prepare you for this one.

10 comments:

Nightjohn88 said...

I'm definitely going to check this one out. It's sad to say, but these sorts of movies are one of my many guilty pleasures!

Speaking of adaptations of Sense and Sensibility, have you seen 'I Capture the Castle'? It came out in 2003 and is based on a novel written in the '40s, but it is obviously heavily influenced by Austen's work. It stars Romola Garai, who played Emma in the BBC mini series. I definitely recommend it!

Heather Carroll said...

I haven't, but now that I have a recommendation I will have to check it out!

Nightjohn88 said...

I actually wrote a post on it recently on the blog that's linked to this message, if you're interested. Just some thoughts, no real spoilers.

Katinka said...

This isn't the type of movie I normally seek out, but I saw it because my friend edited it, and I must say, I found it rather adorable. It's fluff indeed, but marvelous fluff!

Heather Carroll said...

@Nightjohn, I'll check it out

@Katinka, Yes, "fluff" is the word, I meant to use that! Very cool that your friend worked on it!

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Ever since Clueless, I've been interested in how filmmakers and writers adapt Austen to our modern culture. This film is on my list to see. I just watched Bride and Prejudice again, which is fabulous, if you haven't seen it.

Nightjohn88, I've seen I Capture the Castle several years ago. I had no idea that it was influenced by Austen. I have the novel because I was intrigued that it was written by the same woman who wrote 101 Dalmatians.

JaneGS said...

I enjoyed the movie, having pretty low expectations--it's no Clueless, but it was fun nevertheless.

K said...

Rented it last night based on your review. The gent in the group didn't appreciate it (which we knew would happen), however, the other lady and her teen daughter loved it.

It was a cute movie and I especially liked the Aunt. I enjoyed the scene "It's Immigration" and all the ladies hiding their sewing machines.


I think the brother redeemed himself by losing the tart.

Rebecca said...

I'm so checking this one out. Sounds awesome :)

Bryon said...

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Nora and Edward are finally getting together at the party and the chemistry they show is fantastic. Of course that makes it all the more heart breaking when Nora rejects him. I wish the script would have been better for how she lets him down, but her being drunk makes her more blunt I suppose. I (and everyone else) has the opportunity to watch a lot of movies right now (and I do) because I got a 3 month free Blockbuster membership with my new DISH Network employee account. Honestly I should slow down because I’m not getting anything else done these days, like mowing the grass. Pretty soon my toddler won’t be able to be seen in it any more.