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The Nanny Diaries

(2007) *** Pg-13
107 min. The Weinstein Company. Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, Chris Evans, Donna Murphy.
From the "chick lit" files comes a surprisingly satisfying mainstream satire about life in a high-end tax bracket. The Nanny Diaries works to the degree that it does because Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus' novel was entrusted to two substantial filmmakers: Robert Pulcini and Shari Berman, who directed American Splendor. Scarlett Johansson plays Annie, a recently graduated anthropology major who becomes a reluctant nanny in New York. Working for one (Laura Linney) of many self-absorbed moms in the Upper East Side 'hood, Annie models her observations on those of her hero Margaret Mead, but inevitably goes native by getting personal with her boss' neighbor (Chris Evans) and the boy (Nicholas Art) she's charged with babysitting. Both sympathetic and scathing, Pulcini and Berman's film is the rightful heir to The Devil Wears Prada's box office returns, with a spot-on Linney playing the tightly wound Streep to Johansson's Anne Hathaway.
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