From Prada to Nada (Blu-ray)
Ay caramba! If you have been looking for a modern day version of Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility with a Latina twist, stop searching and start watching FROM PRADA TO NADA. I say this with a few caveats. One, there is potential for seizures from the start-stop fast-forward introduction and opening credits. Two, this flick is a step up from a Lifetime Movie (you can decide if this is a compliment or complaint based on the types of movies you like). Three, from start to finish this film is very predictable. Having disclosed those items, I have to say that I was totally sucked into this silly romantic story.
When Beverly Hills sisters, brainy Nora (Camilla Belle) and shop-a-holic Mary (Alexa Vega), dance with their father before his 55th birthday party to his favorite mariachi song, Cielito Lindo, he falls dead of a heart attack. At his funeral the sisters learn that they have a half-brother and that their wealthy father was actually bankrupt, therefore they are left with a giant debt. After selling their family home to their half-brother, Gabriel and his hoity-toity wife, Olivia, the duo move from Beverly Hills to live with their aunt in East Los Angeles. Here the Mexican-American girls must discover life without designer labels and learn how to speak Spanish in order to make it in their new barrio or hood, if you will.
I don’t understand why movies like this feel the need to throw in an unnecessary over-the-top villain, when the main characters are already struggling and suffering. This is such the case with the ultra fashionable, porcelain skinned Olivia (April Bowlby). She does not add anything but frustration to the film. Every time she has a moment on screen I cringe. Her icy attitude makes it impossible to fathom that her brother, Edward (Nicholas D’Agosto), could be Nora’s love interest or that they are even siblings! One surprising performance was Wilmer Valderrama as Bruno, the neighborhood tough-guy with a heart of gold. I guess I didn’t think he would bring much to the table, but when he dresses up for the neighborhood fiesta, I found myself wanting him to get the girl and torn when things don’t go as planned for the muchacho.
Seeing Nora fight for the janitors who were wrongly laid-off was a nice cheesy moment. Even though we don’t get to see much of it, Mary did have the most character development, from her high-heels and hair tossing to slowly embracing her roots. Despite those moments there could have been a bit more of their growth without their daddy’s bank account to protect them. Perhaps a bit more of a relationship could have been seen between the girls and their aunt? It seems like their closeness comes out of the blue! The moments where the subtitles go flying across the screen – that made me laugh and think of my crazy Hispanic family around the dinner table.
This might not be a blockbuster mega hit or an Oscar contender but it was highly entertaining. I even got teary eyed at the finale of the movie, happy with the ending and sad that it was over already.
Video (16×9 Widescreen 1.78:1): Great picture for all the vibrant colors of East LA.
Audio (5.1 DTS HD Master Audio): Audio was perfect.
From Nada to Prada (23:41): A making of featurette that includes everything from the idea of transforming the Jane Austin story Sense and Sensibility to have a Latin spin to praising the cast and crew for being so awesome.
SPARC Your Imagination (17:55): Wilmer Valderrama and founder of the art organization SPARC, Judy Baca, walk us through all of the beautiful murals and artwork of East LA.
My Family, Mi Familia (31:28): The cast and director talk about the movie in a casual forum. They discuss the preparation for the movie and various scenes that meant a lot to each actor.
Bloopers (2:40): Some actual bloopers in this reel! Semi-funny.
Deleted Scenes (5:21): Five deleted scenes, all actually good and one I wish was in the film to show a bit more of a contrast between Edward and Olivia.