From Prada to Nada

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Movie picture “From Prada to Nada” is a new take on Jane Austen’s classic book “Sense and Sensibility.” This upcoming movie is a Latina version: two California sisters go from Beverly Hills to the Hispanic community sporting fashion forward outfits and old-fashioned values. The English and the people of Latin America both like stories about virgins who mistake cads for good men but fall in love no matter whether the guy is a good man or a rake. This makes this new movie a natural. It’s not that “From Prada to Nada” is especially good, it’s just a good idea. It’s hard to tell how this new movie release is going to do at the box office, considering how many movies there are out there now that are aimed at ethnic groups.
The sisters are Nora and Mary Dominquez, played by Camilla Belle and Alexa Vega. They’re wealthy Latinas whose home is in Beverly Hills. They occasionally embrace their heritage. When their father dies they go to live with their aunt, played by Adriana Barraza, in East Los Angeles. They’re still lovely but are now poor, yet there are plenty of guys out there who would love to date them. The sensible sister meets a nice lawyer, played by Nicholas D’Agosto. She gives him up because she has a ten year plan she feels she must follow. The sensitive sister has two guys chasing her, a sneaky diplomat’s son, played by Jose Maria Negri, and an artist, played by the handsome Wilmer Valderrama. Both sometimes make her afraid and sometimes fascinated. Both of the girls start to connect with their roots but the idea of what makes up cultural identity doesn’t receive much attention. Mary never considers herself a chicana but can’t decide which defines her: “Mexican American” or “American Mexican.”
Both of the girls in “From Prada to Nada” are privileged but also suffer from being privileged. The girls have been sheltered which keeps iffy material out of the movie making it appropriate for “tweens.” There isn’t much dirty language, considering the movie has woman members of a gang as well as possible prostitutes in it. But there is a lot of moral judgment on the sister who makes the worst choices.
This movie isn’t entirely a loss. The clever title runs through the movie and it may very well appeal quite strongly to its intended audience.
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