(out of 5)
Scarlett Johansson graduates from university with aspirations to do graduate work in anthropology, but is pushed by her concerned mother Donna Murphy) to pursue a career in business. When that fails at the first job interview, Johansson is accidentally roped into a career as a nanny for the spoiled little boy of a Lady Who Lunches (Laura Linney) thanks to an accidental meeting and misunderstanding in Central Park. Our heroine accepts the job, hoping that she can do it temporarily until she narrows her life’s goals, but finds herself trapped in a hard labour situation that allows her no free time and requires her to meet the needs of both her little charge and the demanding, uncaring mother who makes Miranda Priestley look like a Disney Store employee. This latest film from the team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, writers and directors of the critical hit American Splendor, succeeds at times in showing the hard-edged and often cruel underside of glamorous Manhattan life, but is never particularly engaging or memorable. Johansson is lovely, but the character is bland and never particularly sympathetic, while her romance with a handsome silver-spooner (Chris Evans) is shallow and only superficially satisfying. It only comes to life when Linney is on the screen, giving a performance that is so mesmerizing, layered and complicated that the film’s aims of being The Devil Wears Chanel almost succeed.
Cinematography by Terry Stacey
Music by Mark Suozzo
Production Design by Mark Ricker
Costume Design by Michael Wilkinson
Film Editing by Robert Pulcini