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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Don’t snoop in this diary

    Whatever happened to Scarlet Johansson’s career? Everyone thought she was great playing the ambivalent seductress in “”Lost in Translation”” and the success continued when she played the ambivalent seductress in “”Match Point.””

    But after a while, it just got old. She had some lucky casting moments, but her likeability rose and fell with the director.

    In “”The Nanny Diaries”” she attempts to try something new – unsuccessfully, of course. Instead of the depressed and complicated vixen, we get a bubbling and na’ve do-gooder who just wants to find her place in the world. How sweet.

    “”The Nanny Diaries””
    R, 105 minutes
    1 star

    She gets there by forcing us to sit through 105 minutes of endless clichǸs, horrible narration scenes, George Michael songs, shallow characters and Mary Poppins allusions where she floats through the air with a cheesy CGI umbrella.

    But you gotta know a movie will be bad when the opening scene features a voiceover dissecting the anthropological behavior of Upper East Side residents, concluding with the line, “”In Africa they have the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ But for the tribe of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, it takes just one person. The nanny.””

    Brilliant stuff. It gets even worse when our hero, Annie Braddok (Johansson) walks through the streets of New York and picks out people she can be in the future. All of the sudden we see the people in a book with information about them on the opposite page. Very cutesy.

    Annie finally realizes that she’s destined to be a nanny after she saves a kid from being run over by a Segway in Central Park. You guessed it, the kid’s mom (Laura Linney) sees and mistakes Annie for a nanny, ensuing loads of hilarity.

    Soon we learn that the X Family (a cheap ploy to keep the whole anthropology study thing going) aren’t quite nuclear and are in fact exactly what we expected them to be: caricatures of spoiled rich people. Mr. X (Paul Giamatti) never has any time for his son (illustrated superbly by covering his face “”Home Improvement””-style half the time we see him) and he’s having an affair with someone from the office. Mrs. X spends all of her time planning social functions and attending parenting classes with other rich socialites. Grayer (Nicholas Art), the typical rambunctious elementary school kid with a soft side we learn to just love, can’t get into a prep school and has a peanut butter complex that prevents him from eating it out of the jar.

    After a load of the same scene over and over, in which Annie is bossed around by Mrs. X and seeks refuge in teaching Grayer how to be a kid, we start to see that Mrs. X is bossy because of fear and that the only way Annie can fix the situation is by quitting.

    Luckily for her, she can pursue her dreams and become an anthropologist. Not to mention continue her forbidden romance with “”Harvard Hottie”” (Chris Evans).

    This movie is mildly humorous, not because it wants to be, but because of the random clichǸs you hear along the way and can’t help but laugh at. I don’t want to ruin any of them for you, because they’re the entertainment.

    But, it seems suitable to end with this classic exchange, capped by Grayer in one of those scenes where you’re supposed to snicker at how darn cute he is:

    Annie: What’s wrong, why won’t you shake your booty?

    Grayer: Because I have to make a doody.

    Unfortunately for Johansson, the biggest doody is her movie.

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