Friday, January 28, 2011

FILM REVIEW: Camilla Belle & Alexa Vega's "From Prada to Nada"

I was a little skeptical when I first saw the trailer for this romantic comedy about two rich sisters (Camilla Belle and Alexa Vega), who must learn how to fend for themselves when their father dies and they lose their fortune due to his secretly mounting debt. I thought it was going to be as cheesy as the Duff sisters' Material Girls or any Olsen movie. But it actually managed to squeeze some genuine, non-campy emotion into the a few scenes, raising it from straight-to-DVD obscurity to B-movie status. I particularly enjoyed Wilmer Valderrama's surprisingly convincing portrayal of a Latino bad boy. I'm so use to him always being a bumbling idiot or a charmer that I really didn't think he could pull off dark and mysterious.

Still, the film had its flaws:
1) Belle as a Mexican? Why? Is there a drought in California? Could they not find another Hispanic actress to play the second sister? I could name three B-list actresses off the top of my head: Aimee Garcia ("Off the Map"), Anjelah N. Johnson (Our Family Wedding), and Francia Raisa ("Secret Life of an American Teenager"). Bam! Fail!
2) Whoever was the stylist of the film clearly thought couture meant "skank." Nothing Vega wore made it seem like she even knew where Rodeo Drive was. She was Hispanic, not a hooker.
3) There was a plaque in the doorway of her aunt's house that was in English. English. 90% of the people that went through that house barely spoke English when they entered, why would she own anything with English words on it?
4) Belle was horrible at pretending to be drunk. The only thing she did worst was pretending to be a virgin...
5) On what planet is Camilla Belle unattractive or homely, because she owns glasses and dresses like a librarian. Ugly duckling she aint. And that "transformational" dress that gave her the confidence to say how she felt was uglier than she was pretending to be.
6) And do I even have to address the insanity of the critically acclaimed Adriana Barraza (Babel) being in this film?

Final Verdict: As a half-Hispanic woman, I appreciate when there are films created for my demographic. This may not have been the best they could've offered, but at least it wasn't offensive and stereotypical like Our Family Wedding.

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