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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: From Prada to Nada

May 2nd, 2011

From Prada to Nada - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

From Prada to Nada opened in a targeted limited release and earned terrible reviews, but did respectable business all things considered and eventually reached $3 million. Considering Cedar Rapids was the first limited release to reach $4 million this year, this is a good run. Now that it is coming out on the home market, will is continue this moderate level of success, or will audiences agree with critics?

The Movie

We meet Nora and Mary Dominguez as they go about their day. Nora, the older sister, is studying diligently, while Mary, the younger sister, is shopping. They race home in time to get to their father's birthday party at their massive mansion, but the day of celebration quickly sours when he suffers a fatal heart attack. At the funeral, the two sisters meet Gabe, Jr., their half-brother, and his girlfriend, Olivia. The will states the three siblings are to share their father's estate, but since that amounts to a mountain of debt, Nora and Mary are forced to move out.

They are not homeless, but they have to move in with their Aunt Aurelia and her side of the family, which is a lot more working class. Nora decides to make the best of the situation by getting a job at a law firm, which puts her in close contact with Edward, Olivia's brother, who is a lot more sympathetic to the sisters' ordeal. Meanwhile, Mary freaks out more and the situation doesn't improve when she meets her new neighbor, Bruno, whom she believes is a gang member, despite his repeated attempts to help her. She instead become romantically linked with her T.A., Rodrigo, who comes from big money.

As for the rest of the plot, if you've read and / or seen any of the other Sense and Sensibility adaptations, you know how it will go. In fact, if you've never seen any of the films or read the original book, you will still know how it goes. It's a predictable movie and I don't think many people will argue with that. It also lessens the comedy of manners of the original story and turns it into a rather typical fish-out-of-water romantic comedy. The main difference between this film and most romantic comedies is there are two women, instead of one, who have to learn to be themselves and find love in a new surrounding.

On the other hand, it does have a charming cast and while it is not intellectually stimulating, it's not a terrible way to spend an afternoon. It's the kind of film you can watch once, mildly enjoy, and then move on.

The Extras

The extras on the DVD start with a 24-minute making of featurette which details the film's origins from the first script that showed up over six years ago. It features the typical mix of talking heads, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie. SPARC Your Imagination is an interview featurette with Wilmer Valderrama and Judy Baca. Wilmer plays Bruno, a muralist in the movie, while Judy in the real life muralist that severed as inspiration for his character. Quite a lot of good information in this featurette. My Family, Mi Familia is the longest featurette at just over 31 minutes and it features the main cast chatting about making the movie, and how they became family while doing so. There are five minutes of deleted / extended scenes and finally three minutes of out outtakes. I would have liked an audio commentary track, but this is a lot more than most limited releases earn.

The Blu-ray has no exclusive extras (outside of the ability to set bookmarks) but the video and the audio is good, especially for a low-budget release. The colors are bright, the details are sharp, the blacks are deep, etc. There are a few issues that creep up and show that it's not a blockbuster release, but they are certainly minor compared to the overall look. The audio is clear and there are some scenes where the surround sound speakers are put to good use. It's a solid audio track for a dialogue driven movie. Finally, the Blu-ray costs the exact same prices as the DVD on (The list price is only 1 penny more, which begs the question, why charge the extra penny?)

The Verdict

From Prada to Nada earned just 19% positive reviews, but while four critics in five gave the film a negative review, they were not aggressively negative. It's solidly average, which is on par with most romantic comedies. If you are a fan of the genre, especially a fan looking for more Hispanic flavor in films, then the movie is worth checking out. For most, a rental will be enough, but if you are interested in buying, the Blu-ray is the better deal over the DVD.

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Filed under: Video Review, From Prada to Nada