Spinning off Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, From Prada to Nada follows Nora Dominguez (Camilla Belle) and her shopping-obsessed sister Mary (Alexa Vega) as they go from spoiled princesses in Beverly Hills to struggling commoners in East L.A. after the sudden death of their father. Nora wants to be a lawyer (a public advocate), so the journey is less difficult for her but no less dramatic, since she is the sensible all-work, no play type who meets (and falls in love with) a handsome young attorney named Edward (Nicholas D’Agosto).
Mary’s path has, predictably, a few more plot holes — sorry, I mean potholes — although each of them must come to define, for themselves, what it means to be Mexican American and modern women in Los Angeles. Do they need men to be whole? Are immigrants more than stereotypes?
Somewhere in the re-configured premise, a relevant update exists, but the execution by Angel Gracia is strictly formulaic, set more for the small screen than the big, which is disheartening during an awards season in default when it comes to roles and stories for people of color. Instead of going From Prada to Nada, the movie starts off with nothing and ends up as even less. Grade: D-plus
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