I'm pretty sure I just reviewed this movie. Although this time it's called 'From Prada to Nada' instead of 'Material Girls', and it stars two capable actresses instead of the Duff sisters. That's not to say 'From Prada to Nada' is a great movie, but at least it's better than watching Hilary and Hayley Duff speak like valley girls for an hour and a half. As if!
For those of you who closely followed my 'Material Girls' review (I just made myself laugh) then you know exactly what to expect from this movie. Two wealthy socialites, the Dominguez sisters, are living the high life. Nora (Camilla Belle) is studying to become a lawyer, while Mary (Alexa Vega) spends most of her time on Rodeo Drive buying up anything she can get her hands on. They drive expensive cars, go to expensive parties, and live in a very expensive house. Such is life.
Then, suddenly, their wealthy father passes away right in front of their eyes. At the meeting for their father's will they learn with great alarm that their father was actually nearing bankruptcy. He had no money left and he didn't want anyone to know about it. Enter the long lost son that no one knew about. He and his wife swoop in with their money, buy the family house, and kick the two sisters to the curb. Now it's time to find out what life is really like.
The movie insists that it's a retelling of Jane Austin. Okay then. The sisters have to move in with a close relative who lives in gasp the East Side of LA. The girls are forced to mix with the Latin culture that they seemingly left behind when they were rich.
Bruno (Wilmer Valderrama) lives across the street from where the girls move in. He's a tough-looking guy (we know this because he always wears the hood on his hoodie), with a heart of gold. He soon falls for Mary, but she doesn't exactly fall for him.
Can't you just see where this movie is going? Like 'Material Girls' and just about every other Fish Out of Water movie where someone is thrust into a situation in which they are rendered completely inept, life lessons will be learned. The girls soon start to find out that they can control their own lives, and embrace their Latin background.
It's all well and good, and would probably make for a halfway decent Lifetime Channel rom-com, but it's just so formulaic. You know exactly what will happen at any given moment. You've already read the cliff notes by seeing countless other rom-coms. This one isn't any different. Sure, the two actresses are welcome upgrade from the Duff sisters, but that only makes it marginally better. The rest of it is cutesy filler, but let's be honest; we all expected that to be the case.
Lionsgate provides a decent looking transfer for 'From Prada to Nada'. It's a big step up from the ugly looking 'Material Girls' transfer from MGM.
This transfer is clean. Free from any pesky dirt or noise that could have plagued it. Colors are bright and lucid. The vibrant state of Latin life shines through in the slightly over saturated color palette. Bright greens, blues, and magentas are all on full display here. Fine detail looks great. There is some crushing that happens during darker scenes, like during the party, but for the most part close-ups reveal quite a bit of facial detail. Skin tones seem a little on the orange side, but I'm pretty sure that's because everyone in this movie is simply a lot tanner than I am. Especially Camilla Belle, her tan skin shines here. There are a few scenes were blacks seem flat and lifeless like when Nora and Mary are confronted by some hoodlums in a low riding car as soon as they enter East LA.
Barring a few minor nitpicks, overall this is a very pleasing video transfer.
The audio is a pleasant enough experience. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix offers an expansive soundfield.
This is mainly a front-heavy mix that features clear dialogue up front while providing slightly understated ambient sound in the rear channels. I didn't notice any glaring technical problems with the track. Everything sounds exactly how it's supposed to. LFE is light, but kicks in whenever a song on the soundtrack calls for it. Directionality works well during off screen conversations. Whispers can be hard to hear though.
Like the video presentation, 'From Prada to Nada's audio presentation is satisfactory considering its low budget rom-com roots.
If it came down to watching 'Material Girls' or 'From Prada to Nada' I'd choose the latter every time. It's not a great movie, and it certainly doesn't reinvent the rom-com, but it does have quite a few more competent actors in it, which really brings it up a couple notches. Plus it has a good looking transfer, along with a satisfying audio mix. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the amount and quality of the extras provided. If there are genuine fans of this movie out there, they will be happy that there has been a bit of thought put into the features on this disc. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but 'From Prada to Nada' is worth a rental if you're even the least bit interested.