*½/**** Image A- Sound B+ Extras B-
starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker
screenplay by Aline Brosh McKenna, based on the novel by Lauren Weisberger
directed by David Frankel
by Walter Chaw "Sex and the City" fashion porn married to The Princess Diaries 'tween ugly-duckling uplift, David Frankel's facile sitcom The Devil Wears Prada allows Meryl Streep free reign to craft the titular, nattily-attired hellspawn. Her presence here gives the film the kind of starfuck quotient tied to Jack Nicholson genre vehicles once upon a time; without much effort, one can imagine a carnival barker pulling the wide-eyed bumpkins into the freak tent with the promise of blue-chip capering. Alas, Streep disappoints by turning in a human performance as an Anna Wintour manqué, drifting about as "Miranda Priestly" in Cruella DeVil mane and couture, operating a publishing empire (fictional RUNWAY MAGAZINE substituting for VOGUE, though Madonna's "Vogue" features prominently in the soundtrack for the terminally dim) with a soft voice and a sibilant brittleness.