Once upon a time, I saw A&E’s Pride & Prejudice as a young girl, and I was lost to all things Austen. Since then, I’ve bought nearly all of the movies, and even read some books inspired by Austen. Likely the only adaptations left unseen are some b-films; whether it’s a Bollywood inspired flick or a time-twisting version of Pride & Prejudice, I’ve seen my fair share. This, an older film based off the sister-driven story Sense & Sensibility, is cute, but obviously not religiously true to the novel. In From Prada to Nada the story goes something like this…
From Prada to Nada (2010) Film Review
Work is a foreign concept to Mary Dominguez (Alexa Vega). The mere thought of it makes her cringe. Instead she keeps busy doing what she’s does best, being a party-girl shopaholic. Mary demands the best of everything while her studious elder sister Nora (Camilla Belle) is busily pursuing law school. When their father suddenly dies, he leaves the girls without the means they’re accustomed too, and shocked to discover that they have a half-brother Gabriel (Pablo Cruz). Forced to move in with their estranged aunt (Adrianna Jimenez) in East L.A., it doesn’t take Nora long to realize everything has to change.
She gives up her ambitious studies in order to instead find lucrative employment while Mary mopes about having to sell her fancy luxury vehicle. But this doesn’t stop Nora who determines her sister will finish school. Then she meets Edward (Nicholas D’ Agasto), who is, coincidentally not only a lawyer but brother of Olivia, Gabriel’s girlfriend. Things seem to be looking up, but is the heartbreak worth the risk?
Given that the name Jane Austen attached itself to this, that’s all I needed to know before renting this. Though it does cut some corners, it’s way more mindful (of its source) than one would assume. Adapting a classic to modern times isn’t the easiest thing because filmmakers and their writers have more leniency. Pleasantly, it’s nice to see how well writers connect everything and the parallels they draw; it’s both respectful, and marches to its own beat. The most obvious change is its setting, which does play a part in the story.
For those admirers of Sense & Sensibility who can enjoy a light-hearted take on the classic, this is the perfect choice. There’s still a heartbroken Mary (Marianne) thread; the quiet presence of Brandon (albeit with way less structure); and there’s even a version of Marianne being in danger. The writers’ deserve kudos for how they write these characters as reflections of the original. Credit should also go to the cast. A grown-up Alexa Vega does an admirable job as the careless Mary; Camilla is entertaining; while the actor who plays Willoughby’s counterpart makes a decent roguish cad. The girls have a nice rapport and make the iconic sisters likable.
Sense & Sensibility is really a story about the joys and trials of sisterhood, which the film does well. From Prada to Nada is a fun movie that I’ll watch again, plus the adorable ending pays homage to Austen, and is an ending just as she intends.
You can find From Prada to Nada digitally on Amazon Video
‘From Prada to Nada’: A Fun Austen Re-Telling. Review of the 2010 comedy with Alexa Vega re-telling Sense and Sensibility. #JaneAusten #AlexaPenaVega #Movies Click To Tweet
Content: There’s suggestive sexual innuendo; and Mary isn’t shy about her body. A woman ends up spending the night with someone [the camera pans the path of their strewn-everywhere clothing before seeing them sleeping together]. Nora calls her sister a “slut”; Mary uses drugs and appears at dinner once under the influence. There’s social drinking. The film is PG-13.
Note: this review was published in the archives five or more years earlier. Since moving to WordPress, 90% of the reviews, lists and articles need re-formats and/or other updates. Updated edits and changes to fit current formats have been made; it has also been updated with new photos, and republished.
Originally published November 14, 2011