‘From Prada to Nada’: A Fun Austen Re-Telling


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?

DISCUSSION | Faces of a Romance Adaptation: The One All About Emma.
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‘From Prada to Nada’: A Fun Austen Re-Telling. Review of the 2010 comedy with Alexa Vega re-telling Sense and Sensibility. Text © Rissi JC

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.


‘From Prada to Nada’: A Fun Austen Re-Telling. Review of the 2010 comedy with Alexa Vega re-telling Sense and Sensibility. Text © Rissi JC

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

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would. Sense and Sensibility isn't my favorite novel (I will always be partial to P&P.), but the more current adaptations have been good. I love Edwards getting more notice (and anyone is better than Hugh Grant =))

    However, I don't think Wilmer Valderrama was the cad….wasn't he "Colonel Brandon?" ;-)

  2. Oooh… you don't like "S&S" as well… I don't know which Austen is my favorite but I do love the 2008 version of this story. =)

    Poor, Hugh. He is so berated by me. I just cannot stand his Edward – especially after seeing Dan in the role (so what if he doesn't fit the physical description, he's tons better than Hugh!).

    "S&S" is the only novel I've read by Jane, so I do love the story. And this movie is adorable – my mom and I watched it again a couple of months ago.

    Ha! Thanks for correcting me about the actor who played Col. Brandon. YIKES! That is so not a good thing to mess up – Brandon is as far from a cad as a guy can be: he's the white knight. ;D

  3. I know what you mean about not watching something because of the actors in a movie, Juju. My mother is like that – if she doesn't like an actor, it affects her opinion of the movie; as a result, she rarely watches Little Women because she doesn't care for Susan S. as the mother.

    Still, you should try this one – it's adorable. =)

  4. Funny story about my experience with this film… first time I watched it, I thought ‘Eh, not bad, but it’s also really awkward in places, and I don’t emotionally connect with it.’ Then I decided to watch it a second time a few weeks later, and it was like a lightbulb went off; I ADORED it, and with every viewing since, that feeling has only grown!

    My favourite aspect is, of course, Nora and Edward’s story (SO cute, with fantastic romantic chemistry and angst, and I LOVE the little twist they put on the ‘my heart is, and always will be, yours’ line from the 95 version), but I also agree with you that the sister’s dynamic and rapport is very enjoyable, love their hilarious aunt and her friends, and think the fact that it’s Mary who ends up reaching out to their half-brother was a brilliant move.

    1. It is awkward in places, as I find lots of “cute” movies like this can be. But like you now feel, I just think this one is TOO cute not to indulge in once in a while. Prior to watching it to revamp this review, I hadn’t seen this for YEARS, and yet, I still find it fun. :)

      Aw, yes! Nora and Edward are darling. Gotta’ love it when a romance keeps its source material at the heart, too. Lots of great little changes/good moments, and it’s nice to see Mary (Marianne) do something that isn’t prompted by someone who wants her to be “better.” :)

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