Who's in It:
Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, Chris Evans, Donna Murphy, Nicholas Art
The Basics: She graduates from college with a bum degree and goes to work for self-absorbed rich people, taking care of their in-need-of-a-good-spanking brat. She lives in a closet-size room, has zero privacy, is not allowed a personal life and is on-call 24/7. But the money's good. So she takes notes and writes a book about how put-upon she was, and then it becomes a big Hollywood movie, which means it turned out to be a good career choice after all.
What's the Deal? Along with The Devil Wears Prada, it's just the tip of the disgruntled-young-employee iceberg in the culture. I don't know if we'll get more movies about how I'm a Beautiful, Unique Snowflake and My Boss Is Mean and No One Appreciates Me, but I hope it becomes a trend so that we can turn a corner and start openly mocking these whiners. As for the film, it needs to be funnier and not so warm and huggy. After a while, you just start thinking, "How many uptight rich ladies does it take to screw in a light bulb?" And the answer is just one, played by Linney, who really just needs to learn about how much she loves her lonely little son and, oh wait, look, here's that thoughtful PYT, Johansson, to teach her how.
Why It Especially Bums Me Out That This Isn't That Great: Because the people who made it also made American Splendor and that was incredible. But this one got released by the Weinstein Company, and I assume the big bosses came in and couldn't resist trying to ruin it. One nice touch: The fantasy sequences where Johansson is whisked up into the sky by a big Mary Poppins umbrella. At first I thought, "Why is the Travelers Insurance logo following her around?" and then I remembered that it was a nod to that other, better nanny movie.
Who's Good: Linney only has one thing to do here, and that's to be a totally unpleasant B-word. But she's really good at doing that one thing. Giamatti also has only one thing to do here, and that's be even more unpleasant than Linney. But he goes that extra mile, with a nasty orange rinse in his hair, a willingness to wear hideous male resort clothes and to look like a pasty creep in the beach scenes. Better still, he doesn't have to have a weepy change of heart about what a crappy parent he is.
What It Could Have Used: A Fran Drescher cameo.