Volume 76, Number 8 | July 12 - 18, 2006

Koch On Film

By Ed Koch

“Superman Returns” (-)
Boring. How so many reviewers could give this film four stars is beyond me. I confess that I rarely enjoy a full-length movie based on a cartoon, but some are better than others. This one is simply pretentious. “Spider-Man,” which I didn’t really enjoy, was better than this film in terms of plot and acting.

References are made early on to the disappearance of Superman/Cark Kent (Brandon Routh) and to the op-ed written years before by Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) in which she stated that the world does not need a savior, referring to Superman. In this movie, Lois has a live-in boyfriend, Richard (James Marsden), and a son, Jason (Tristan Lake Leabu). Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) also appears reminding us that Superman, born on the planet of Krypton, loses his powers when in the presence of Kryptonite.

I won’t provide any more details about this much too long film other than to say I found it ludicrous and the acting flat. The ending seemed to indicate another sequel on the horizon. I don’t plan on seeing that one.

“The Devil Wears Prada”(-)
Many people anxiously awaited the release of this hyped film based on the best-selling novel by Lauren Weisberger. It is a ridiculous flop. The script is among the worst of the year and the acting is very trite and ordinary.

Miranda (Meryl Streep) is the editor of Runway, a leading fashion magazine. Her character appears to be based on an actual fashion editor and has all the foibles and vanities of someone at the top of her profession who along the way lost her common sense to success. Andy (Anne Hathaway) interviews for the position of Miranda’s assistant dressed like a waif in an environment where everyone dresses to the nines in sample designer clothing. Emily (Emily Blunt) is Miranda’s first assistant, and Nigel (Stanley Tucci) is the magazine’s fashion editor. Nate (Adrian Grenier) plays the role of Andy’s boyfriend, and Christian (Simon Baker), a later love interest.

In this movie Meryl Streep, normally an extraordinary nuanced actor, is a one-trick pony. Contrary to the hype, I predict that she will not receive any awards for her acting performance. No special light emanates from Anne Hathaway, and Emily Blunt was no better. Stanley Tucci tried very hard in his gay role not to insult anyone by going too far in lampooning the industry, but the restraint reduced his impact. Nate, who plays the lead character in the television series “Entourage,” is not even close to being a fine actor, and Simon Baker displayed very little talent in his role.

The directors had a lot to work with in this film about the haute couture industry, but they failed miserably. They turned it into a vehicle for showcasing special products with Starbucks being the major beneficiary of screen time. If companies were charged to have their products displayed, the producers made a fortune.

While waiting for the movie to end, I thought of the great designer, Isaac Mizrahi. On many occasions, both in movies and on television, he cleverly displayed the enormous talents of people working within the fashion industry and provided hilarious incidents and comments. I also thought of the television series, “Sex and the City,” which week after week delivered a strong script, humor and outstanding performances. In this case, the devil just didn’t have it.

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