Review: From Prada to Nada

I feel a bit like I’m in the early days of college again – when I left everything until the last minute. Though I always got it done (and done fairly well, thank you), it was typically a busy few weeks before the end of a semester. And here I am, three weeks out from the end of Summer of Austen – my first Three Month Project, and I still have three novels to read!

After last night’s lazy summer dinner of half-price ribs and $2 Summer Shandy drafts at Paddy Mac’s, I returned home with the intention of spending, oh, two or three hours on Pride and Prejudice (a novel I am only 1/3 of the way through and did not count in the aforementioned total of three remaining to read). In an expert attempt at procrastination, I first watched Tuesday evening’s episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Then I had to see what “Jane Austen” things were on Netflix… for future planning, of course.

As if it were meant to be, pre-determined for my Wednesday night entertainment, I saw it: From Prada to Nada. I had seen it listed there before of course and never paid much attention to it; it seemed a little too “Paris Hilton” for my taste. I had an epiphany last night though: I would watch this movie, in the name of research! Surely if it’s worth watching all the wonderful Austen adaptations, I should temper that understanding with the poorly made films.

One level of procrastination just wasn’t enough though and I had to put these plans on hold while I went out for ice cream. (What a decadent night.)

Now, this movie. This movie was, well, it was actually pretty good. Like ABC Family good. Meaning I wouldn’t see it in a theatre. I wouldn’t buy it. But I would watch it every time I catch it while flipping through cable channels in the middle of winter.

The movie opens with Katy Perry’s “California Girls” and I could not stop the compulsive, exaggerated eye roll it produced. The premise is set up pretty quickly – two spoiled sisters, the younger being the more rash and impulsive of the two, are suddenly destitute after the unexpected death of their father. Elinor Nora and Marianne Mary are forced to live with extended family in a working class neighborhood and comedy ensues as they learn to navigate in this new, scary world – they have to take the bus!

Somewhere after the first half-hour or so, the movie sneaks up and you and becomes, well, kind of good. There’s a touching underlying story or theme about the importance of family and culture. While there is a “Lucy,” Nora and Edward are kept apart by something deeper than that and watching Nora reconcile her feelings was a wonderful way to take that plot. Mary’s redemption, too, is more uplifting than Marianne’s – there is no sense of sad resignation to her future. And Mary is a college student, instead of a 17-year-old, so I appreciated that.

Look, I’m not claiming it’s revolutionary or cinematic genius. It was a solidly entertaining movie, a recognizable adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, and I got a proper proposal scene. What more could I ask for from a Wednesday night procrastination tool?

Review: don’t let the title fool you, if you have Netflix and it’s raining out, just watch this movie ok?