Empire - 12/01/2007 3 stars out of 5 -- "Linney is superb....Fitfully funny..."
Loosely based on the bestselling roman à clef by Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus, THE NANNY DIARIES is the story of Annie Braddock (Scarlett Johansson), a fresh-out-of-college Jersey girl who is uncertain of her future. Annie's mother (Donna Murphy) is pressuring her to take a job in business, but Annie has more interest in anthropology. After blowing her first interview with a New York financial firm, Annie heads to Central Park to mull over her options. As fate would have it, it's there that she meets Mrs. X (Laura Linney), a wealthy mother from the Upper East Side. Mrs. X happens to witness a warm interaction between Annie and her son Grayer (Nicholas Art), and mistakenly assumes Annie is a nanny. She immediately offers Annie a job, and despite the warnings of her best friend, Linette (Alicia Keys), Annie takes it. She decides to approach the job like an anthropologist in the field, and she is alternately fascinated and appalled by her observations. Despite their luxurious lifestyle, the Xs are revealed to be a truly dysfunctional mess. Annie quickly learns that money might indeed buy you a house on Nantucket, but it certainly can't buy you an honest husband or the affection of your son.
Linney is excellent as the ice-cold Mrs. X, and Paul Giamatti delivers a perfectly smarmy performance as the philandering Mr. X. The film has a great time poking fun at the absurdity and hypocrisy of Manhattan's upper-crust, and it's at its funniest when relying on the sharp observations of its source material. It's surprisingly fanciful in places, with quick nods to MARY POPPINS and its very amusing use of the Natural History Museum. A sort of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA with a fantastical edge, THE NANNY DIARIES is a satisfying slice of cinematic schadenfreude.
Based On A Novel |