from PRADA to nada

The title of the film certainly gives off the impression it wants to steal any amount of viewership from The Devil Wears Prada as possible. In fact, From Prada to Nada is nothing like the other Prada film; it is a modern (very modern) interpretation of Jane Austin’s Sense & Sensibility. The movie's only claim to fame is casting Oscar nominee Adriana Barraza (Babel, Drag Me to Hell) and the former girlfriend of Joe Jonas, Camilla Belle. The remainder of the cast, you are likely to only recognize from Latin soap operas or Telemundo television. Aiming entirely for a specific demographic (and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing), From Prada to Nada looks and feels like a Disney production, but with drinking and premarital sex, it lets the viewer know it isn’t.

On their widowed father’s 55th birthday, privileged sisters Nora (Belle) and Mary (Vega) watch their dad die of a heart attack. The realization that their father was in debt and that they will no longer be able to live the extravagant lifestyle they were used to sets in pretty quick. They are forced to move in across town with their lower class Aunt (Barraza) and find jobs. Perusing a career in law, Nora gets a job and also meets the first guy she has ever felt anything for (D’Agosto), while Mary, resorting to her usual dating game ways, jumps into bed with the first guy who shows her attention.

Not shockingly, this film did very poorly at the box office because it certainly didn’t have a wide appeal. While Spanish speaking Americans are slowly gaining on the majority of the population of the United States (especially in cities where movies are screened), even that demographic would rather see non-culture specific films. Belle, who has only appeared in a handful of mediocre films, does not have the clout to bring people to a film; neither does Barraza, who is only respected and even known in certain circles. Vega is dolled up here to look strikingly like Lindsey Lohan, which likely isn’t a plus either.

If you have ever lived in Los Angeles and worked among the working class, then you understand just what kind of fantasy this script is peddling. Here, neighbors are nice, friendly and trustworthy; even in the shady sides of town From Prada to Nada doesn’t come close to capturing the dirty or realistic side of the city. Destined for a happy ending, we watch as these girls experience their bumps in the road, knowing before those credits role everything will turn out okay. The movie’s only decent aspect is the nearly forgotten That 70’s Show star Valderrama.

   Final Thought – Like a two hour teenage Spanish soap opera.

Grade C-

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Michael Woody