Early on in the dirty diaper of a comedy called The Nanny Diaries (hereafter called ?X?), a New Jersey woman describes her ex-husband as having taken up in ?a double-wide in Scranton? as if it were the fifth circle of Dante?s Inferno. Long the ashtray of popular culture (thank you, Kingpin), Scranton can rest assured that it no longer the lowest rung on the zeitgeist ladder. No, dear readers, this prized distinction clearly now belongs to the uncannily bland ?X.? What begins as a winning sociological assessment from the team that brought audiences the hilariously sardonic American Splendor quickly descends into a witless exercise in cutesy cinema.
Adapted from Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin?s novel, the PG-13-rated Nanny Diaries follows the hellish experiences of a 21 year-old NYU graduate (Johansson) who signs on to be a nanny for a nameless snooty Upper East Side family (Linney, Paul Giamatti).
Directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini begin the adaptation by dressing up ?X? as a literal Museum of Natural History piece?-New York character types as wax figures behind glass. This inspired take on the material actually works quite well until, for some unknown reason, the exercise transforms into a simple and lifeless family/romantic comedy. And just imagine their leading lady (those lips!), the lovely young starlet Johansson (those eyes!), as a nanny (surprise!). Because this reviewer simply could not. It is not that the Lost in Translation star can't act?-it is just difficult to buy Maxim?s ?Sexiest Woman Alive? as X?s dowdy bottom-feeder.
Bottom line: Mary Poopings.