From Prada to Nada
Jane Austen update with Latino twist offers laughs, romance.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this modernized take on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility stars former teen sensations Camilla Belle and Alexa Vega (Spy Kids) as wealthy sisters who move to East L.A. after their father's death leaves them penniless. The word "s--t" is used frequently, and one relationship leads to a sexual situation (but there's no nudity). Characters drink and get drunk, and marijuana use is visible. Expect lots of humor and stereotypes based on Mexican-American culture, but the movie also celebrates the beauty of this heritage and offers positive messages about family, friendship, and love.
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What's the Story?
FROM PRADA TO NADA is a modern, Latino-centric tale loosely based on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. When law student Nora Dominguez (Camilla Belle) and her shallow younger sister, Mary (Alexa Vega), suddenly lose their father, they find themselves penniless. Forced to sell their Beverly Hills home to their estranged half-brother (Pablo Cruz) and his self-centered wife, Olivia (April Bowlby), to cover their father's debts, the sisters move in with their great aunt, Tia Aurelia (Adriana Barraza) in East L.A. It isn't easy, but things look up when Nora attracts the interest of Olivia's brother, Edward (Nicholas D'Agosto), and Mary finds love with wealthy graduate tutor, Rodrigo Fuentes (Kuno Becker) ... much to the dismay of Aurelia's proud neighbor Bruno (Wilmer Valderrama). As the sisters navigate a new world of romance, heartache, and love, they also discover the beauty of their Mexican heritage.
Is It Any Good?
The movie offers a unique version of the Austen classic Sense and Sensibility. It effectively draws on the contrasts between the upscale neighborhood of Beverly Hills and East Los Angeles' prominent Mexican-American community as a way to illustrate class distinctions. But the poignant loss of the sisters' father and the discovery of a new brother gets a little lost in the narrative about the young women losing their material wealth.
There's also some stereotyping here, and the clash of the two cultures can often feel predictable and formulaic, which results in jokes that are only mildly funny. But it's clear that overall the movie seeks to celebrate the beauty and richness of America's Mexican heritage and offers this message within the context of family and love.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the media represents different races and ethnicities. Is it possible to offer a humorous look at a culture's specific characteristics without using stereotypes? When does this humor cross the line into being critical and/or insulting?
What do the main characters learn over the course of the movie? Are they -- and their challenges -- relatable?
How do films stay true to classic tales written by masters like Shakespeare or Jane Austen while reflecting modern-day culture and values? What are the different ways that their stories have been told over the years? What's your favorite adaptation, and why?
- In theaters: January 28, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: May 3, 2011
- Cast: Alexa Vega, Camilla Belle, Wilmer Valderrama
- Director: Angel Garcia
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: brief drug use and a sexual situation
- Last updated: February 22, 2023
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