From Prada to Nada: Shallow, Latina-centric Adaptation of Sense and Sensibility


Amy Heckerling was the first to make over Jane Austen’s gentry women as Beverly Hills shopaholics in the 1995 youth-culture staple Clueless (a witty reworking of Emma), but she’s hardly the last as this shallow, Latina-centric adaptation of Sense and Sensibility attests. Still reeling from the sudden death of their wealthy padre, Mexican-American law student Nora (Camilla Belle) and her trendy, tanned-orange sister, Mary (Alexa Vega), are booted out of their mansion by their older half-brother’s shrewish wife. Forced to move in with their aunt—who runs an illegal sewing factory out of her East L.A. home—Nora humbly adapts to spinster rituals while Mary’s lifestyle downgrade from Bimmer to beater is killing her will to live (“Poor people only eat carbs,” she whines). Enter the fantasy suitors: Do-gooder lawyer Edward (Nicholas D’Agosto) flirts with Nora, except she’s too skittish and career-focused to admit her mutual attraction, while homeboy handyman Bruno (Wilmer Valderrama) is too ghetto to distract Mary from Lorca-quoting lothario Juanito (Luis Rosales). Generic rom-coms are a peso a dozen, but under all the pretty faces and MTV Latino pop, there’s something crassly disingenuous about the movie’s blatant demographic pandering (hooray for immigration-panic jokes!) and half-assed condemnation of gluttony.