01 June 2009

DVD: "The Nanny Diaries" - Widescreen Edition

The Nanny Diaries
Written for the Screen and Directed by Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Bergman
Based on the Novel by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Alicia Keys, Chris Evans, Donna Murphy and Paul Giamatti
DVD Release Date: 4 December 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Language)
List Price: $14.95
Cinescopes Personality Types: Dedicated Idealist, Vivacious Romantic

The Film
Annie (Johansson) has just graduated from NYU with a degree in anthropology and no sense of direction for her life. A chance encounter with "Mrs. X" (Linney) in Central Park offers her an invitation to take a position as the latest in a long line of nannies to the "X" family. The "X's" have so much material wealth that they've forgotten to value people, which stands in stark contrast to Annie's background, put through college by her working single mother (Murphy).

There are two featurettes: one focusing on the development and production of the film, and the other spotlighting the co-authors of the original novel. Otherwise, there is a brief montage of bloopers and the obligatory original theatrical trailer. It's nice to see authors of original source material getting some attention, but where's the commentary track?

The Recommendation
The Nanny Diaries wants to be a sociological eye-opener, but it's hard to imagine anyone who has spent more than, say, five minutes pondering such things as the nature of families that hire nannies who will be surprised. Had the film been an indie production, there might have been more of a sense of personal growth for Annie; as it is, while Johansson is charming throughout, it is really Mrs. X whom we see have the greatest epiphany. Throughout the film, it's simply too obvious that everything will work out just fine in the end; then again, the co-directors acknowledge that this is a direct descendant of Mary Poppins.

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