The Nanny Diaries (2007) Poster

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Well, it ain't Noel Coward, that's for sure
bregund7 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This watered-down social commentary about the caste system among NYC snobs and their domestic help is as esoteric as the book that inspired it. Given a title that promises biting wit, bitch fights, and outrageous behavior, one wakes up the morning after watching the film curiously empty; not only does he not remember a single scene from the film, but he forgets he saw the bloody thing in the first place. Laura Linney's usually electrifying screen presence is dumbed down to a few tantrums and forced smiles, all meant to imply, I suppose, the shallowness of a rich and privileged life. The usually wonderful Paul Giammatti fares no better, coming off as a fat stupid lout whose dialogue was apparently written by someone who watched too many Lifetime movies. In fact, the whole endeavour is EXACTLY like a Lifetime movie: mind-numbingly insipid, told from the point of view of the oppressed woman (here represented by the horribly miscast Scarlet Johansson), complete with sistah support (Alicia Keys) and one of the most boring gay guys you've ever seen on film. Love interest WASP Dopey the Wonder Boy rounds out the cast of caricatures as a down-to-earth Harvard graduate with a sob story and dimples, and of course he's nothing like his dumbass friends. He really wants to date the nanny. Really. Okaaaaaaaaaaay.

But I could forgive all of that junk if the film had dared to plumb the depths of the social strata with which it purports to be familiar. But it doesn't, it carefully flits across the top of the upper crust society, never landing anywhere, and we frustratingly see only glimpses of tantalizing gossip: What the hell does Mrs. X exactly do all day long that takes her away from her weirdly-named son (Grayer)? The movie won't tell us, preferring to keep its mouth shut and devoting the entire hour and a half to Annie's moral dilemma in staying with Grayer instead of moving on with her life. It's an admirable quality for a protagonist, but also a very boring one. What I wouldn't give to see Mrs. X on a bender, eating mini donuts in the back of her limo wearing only a fur, or flirting with a doorman or something. ANYTHING. Did anyone ever see Valerie Perrine in that dumb movie with Ally Sheedy years ago, where Sheedy was her maid? The ultra-rich Perrine was fantastic, saving all her bits of aluminum foil so she could recycle them and make a few cents, mashing up all the soap slivers in the house into a big ball so she could make "soap for the servants' quarters". This is what I wanted to see, rich people gone weird.

Anyhoo, the movie ends pretty much as you might expect, Mrs. X becomes enlightened, etc etc etc. You've seen it all before if you've ever watched five minutes of any Lifetime movie.
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Unfortunately Disappointing...
zennikku_104 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I loved the book The Nanny Diaries, I lost myself in it, the story of a student taking care of a 5th Avenue family's son and all the mishaps that happen was truly a delight to read. So when I heard about a movie adaptation I couldn't have been happier. When they started announcing the cast I was pretty pleased with the choices, being a big Scarlett Johansson fan I knew she could pull if off. Then the movie came out, it suffered from bad reviews and low ticket sales, so my hope that the movie would be as good as the book were dampened, but I was still interested in it.

Well, I finally watched it and I feel so disappointed in this film. The cast are all great and they all did an adequate job. I liked Scarlett Johansson as the lead. The real problem of this movie is that it really strays from the book. I have no problem when film adaptations of books are done differently, if I enjoy the book I might enjoy the movie as well no matter how much the film is changed, as long as those changes are positives one. In this movie the changes were not positive.

It tries to be quirky and funny and really bombs in the humor. And it's source material is both quirky and funny and all the changes they made really made the humor feel forced. That might the problem with this film, it tries to hard to be funny and it just bombs. The magic of the book just didn't translate into the film. What made the book good isn't present here and it's a shame because it is a really fun book to read and this is a really boring movie to watch. The changes in storyline weren't what bother me so much, but the fact that they took something original and turned it into something generic.

The film does have it's saving graces. Johansson and Evans are both very charming in the film and the rest of the cast do a good job. But what they succeeded in doing, at least for me, was establish a relationship between Annie and Grayer. I really bought their relationship and could see how much they meant to each other. Their relationship was truly touching and believable. Unlike the book, which leaves things pretty unresolved, maybe that gives it a touch or realism, this film gives us the perfect happy ending, were the bad guys are reformed and our heroine has found what she was looking for.

I didn't hate the movie, it's fine, it just drags a little. The book is just great and I was hoping that it's film adaptation would live up to it, but it didn't. It's sad to see that something with so much potential was ruined by trying to make it commercial and what ended up happening was that the ruined a great opportunity. Don't let this movie fool you, it is nothing like the book. And though I cannot recommend this movie I do recommend the book to anyone.
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A good book totally ruined by a substandard film
LilyDaleLady22 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I realize most books require a LOT of adapting to work as movies, but Emma Laughlin & Nicola Kraus's biting, insightful "Nanny Diaries" was a slim book, with a straightforward story line -- we aren't talking "Gravity's Rainbow" here. It was sharp and gossipy, amusing in a clear-eyed, first-hand-knowledge sort of way (both authors worked as nannies in NYC before writing the book).

None of that makes it to the film, which changes the plot & characters so completely that it might as well be a different story with an entirely different title. In the novel, NAN (presumably short for Nancy) becomes a PART-TIME nanny while she's finishing a graduate degree -- she's not a live-in. The point of the book is that the ridiculous demands of Mrs. X encroach on her life to the point that a poorly paying part-time babysitting gig eventually takes over her far more real needs to finish school and get a real job. She is NOT an anthropologist trying to get a job on Wall Street (why would an anthropology major be trying for a financial job anyways?)

NAN in the book is herself from an old-money New York family -- not a Jersey girl! I guess the filmmakers decided it would make the character "more sympathetic", but it skewers the whole point of the story. In the book, NAN's parents and even grandparents are entirely aware of her part-time babysitting gig -- it's no secret, and it's no more "degrading" than someone who works at the Gap while trying to finish college.

Far from "great paying", one big point the book makes is that the very rich are awful cheapskates when it comes to their "servants". The sharpest detail of the novel is when Nan leaves the summer cottage, and Mrs. X has only paid her $50 for a whole week of 24/7 work -- because, after all, wasn't it a "free beach vacation"?

Scarlett Johannson continues to underwhelm me -- she's very miscast as "Annie" and doesn't look or sound like a Jersey girl. The production has her dressed down, with stringy brown hair and frumpy clothes -- stripped of her beauty, we have to confront her limited acting skills (like not being able to mimic a New Jersey accent). It's painful. The character of NAN called for an actress with a Yuppie, upper class vibe -- in some ways, she's a younger version of Mrs. X and both characters know this .... i.e., if she marries Harvard Hottie, she'll become the next generation Mrs. X. Both the film & actress seem oblivious to this brilliant concept, and instead labor to make this "Upstairs, Downstairs -- which it emphatically is NOT.

The usually wonderful Laura Linney tries hard, but is wasted in a part dumb-ed down to that of a Stepford wife -- not mention, she's dressed and coiffed as if it were 1962, not 2007. (In the book, Mrs. X exudes "casual chic", like plain ballet flats that cost $600.)

The stunningly beautiful Alicia Keyes has a small part, but despite a lovely husky voice she has no real ability to carry even a small supporting role -- and the cliché of the "black best girlfriend" is painful. Donna Murphy has a thankless role as the controlling Jersey mom -- a working class nurse who is "horrified" to see her college age daughter doing child care, a distinction that makes no sense (who watched Annie while her single mom was working as a nurse? duh!). This is a tired cliché, and doesn't exist in the novel.

Unable to see clever, sharply observed social critique in the novel (do the filmmakers have their own "nanny issues"?), the film relies on prolonged, uncharming fantasy sequences ala "Mean Girls" (i.e., treating the subject matter as if it's an anthropological study, etc.). It's not a surprise that this film was held back from release for a long while (probably reworked a lot, to no good effect).

SPOILER ALERT: In the novel, Mr. X is cheating on Mrs. X -- and we learn that SHE stole HIM away from his first wife in the exact same way. In order to hang on to him, she does indeed get pregnant -- it's not a hoax. She doesn't divorce him, she doesn't "reform", and every indication is that poor neglected Grayer will grow up to be exactly like his selfish dad. NAN graduates and presumably gets a "real" (non-nanny) job. But there is no apologetic letter from Mrs. X to her -- the point of the novel is that the X's have learned nothing and will continue on with their horrible ways, oblivious to their son and (presumably) their next baby.

This film needed to be a sharp, humorous, black comedy of manners and instead, its a flabby, un-funny mess that suffocates every potentially amusing scene and strains for sentiment where none exists. Even the chance to show the "posh lifestyles of the rich" is lazy and unimaginative.

In conclusion: not even worth a rental
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Quite nice
kosmasp12 September 2008
As another reviewer pointed out-> "Better than expected". So if your expectations are low, you will be positively surprised. I watched it a sneak preview with some friends. I guess Scarlett Johansson haters won't like the movie from the start, but everyone else can give it a shot.

Yes it is predictable, yes it has it's awkward moments, but it's also likable. The cast is stellar throughout, most of the jokes work and the kid performer walks a fine line, but always stays/plays it straight. The movie keeps a light tone overall, but has it's dark(er) moments too. They might not work for everyone (and some might hate the ending), but overall it's a decent movie (effort)
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I know it's cliché, but the book was better
szyp28 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
So I'm not a reader, but I did read The Nanny Diaries awhile back. Having been a nanny, I was very interested in the content. I really appreciated the issues brought forth by the authors, and agreed with many of their insights.

The movie, unfortunately, seems to lighten rather than shine light on the core issues of the book, adding a whimsical tone throughout that I found disappointing. Of greater disappointment, however, was the addition of greater sympathy for the child's mother (Mrs. X) paired with continued vilification of the child's father (Mr. X). In fact, Mrs. X's character is even redeemed at the end while the evil Mr. X is sent packing.

I found it quite irritating that this "modern-day Mary Poppins" followed the bizarre precedent of its predecessor in ultimately placing much of the blame for the children's woes in the lap of the (overly) hard-working father who is, at least, providing income for the family while the mother is off pursuing her own unrelated interests. Thankfully, the male-bashing was not quite as overt as using the phrase "as a group, they're rather stupid" in reference to men, which is a line from Mary Poppins. Don't get me wrong, Mr. X did lack any redeeming qualities, however throwing Mrs. X an undeserved lifeline at the end while allowing Mr. X to drown seemed a bit fishy.

A somewhat confusing subplot also exists with Annie's (the Nanny) mother. While the main focus of the movie seems to be on the evils of luxury and the importance of raising children, Annie's sweet, lovable mother consistently nags Annie to enter the world of business and finance in pursuit of a "better" life. The mother reminds Annie that she worked years of overtime, etc. as a nurse to give Annie the chance to go to a good school and work towards the high life. She is also appalled to learn of Annie's waste-of-time job raising a child.

So, what I gathered from the movie is that it is only OK to leave your child for hours on end if you are a nurse from New Jersey who is trying to give your child an opportunity to one day work his/her way up to a life of luxury (which will, in turn, presumably make said child evil and heartless). Needless to say, the messages in the movie were quite mixed. I read a couple of personal reviews on this movie and they both used the word "cute", which is a far cry from the point of the book. Although I did enjoy seeing the book come to life on the big screen, I have to say that the book was much better. I knew I shouldn't have read a book - it ruined the movie for me.
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Critics are Ninnies about "Nanny"
Brent Trafton24 August 2007
"The Nanny Diaries" did not get very good reviews but I liked the previews so I decided to see it instead of another movie that got much better reviews and I'm glad I did.

"The Nanny Diaries" is entertaining the entire time. It might not have you rolling in the aisles like "Superbad," but it is not that kind of movie.

The main reason to see this film is because of Scarlett Johansson. She makes Annie the Nanny such a sympathetic character, that we stay interested in the film and we care about what happens to her. Scarlett Johansson made a name for herself doing a lot of independent film but this is probably her best performance in a mainstream film. Not only is her acting phenomenal, she is the world's most beautiful nanny.

A lot of the professional reviews seem to have been disappointed by "The Nanny Diaries" because it was written and directed by the same people who did "American Splendor." They were expecting something more like that film. "The Nanny Diaries" is not that kind of film. It is not particularly quirky and it will probably appeal to a wide audience. I thought it was better than "The Devil Wears Prada," which it often gets compared to.

"The Nanny Diaries" is absolutely mandatory viewing for Scarlett Johansson fans. For anyone else, this film might win you over.
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Passable but nothing particularly memorable
Harry T. Yung31 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Scarlett Johansson fans will of course make sure not to miss this one. The premises of this movie are however so familiar and cliché that they will really need to do a fantastic job to make this a memorable movie. This the movie makers have not achieved.

The Upper East End parents are so stereotyped that the movie makers don't even bother giving them names, but just call them Mr and Mrs X (Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney). He is a business tycoon who finds relief from fooling around with female subordinates. She is a typical snobbish, dominating, high society woman, but also a victim in the sense of having an even more dominating husband. What kind of life the little kid goes through needs no elaboration and his transformation from a hostile brat to a longing and loving child in his relationship with the new nanny (Johansson, of course) is predictability itself.

And I don't agree with what some critic say that this movie is comparable to The devil wears Prada, just because both have a dominating middle-aged woman and an unsophisticated lassie. How lazy can the critics get in resorting to such superficiality? There are dominating women and there are dominating women, and for those who have seen both movies, it's an insult to their intelligence to try to explain why the characters played by Meryl Streep and Laura Linney are far more different than they are similar.

And I don't agree either with the critics who say that Laura Linney has turn in a particularly great performance. She is an excellent actor, she delivers in this movie (I never expect her to be otherwise, in any movie) but I've seen her doing better in many other movies ("Kinsey", "The squid and the whale", just to name two). But it is quite refreshing to see Paul Giamatti, after appearing in so many endearing roles ("Sideways", "Lady in the water" and even "Cinderella man"), portray a totally disgusting character. While the mere sight of Johansson will bring eternal joy to her fans, I don't think this is a particularly impressive picture for her. I like her much better in "Scoop".

"The nanny diaries" is not a movie that will irritate or annoy you; it's just one that you are not likely to remember. What I'll remember most will be its references to Mary Poppins, from the cute montages with the red umbrella, down to even the cell phone ring tones of "chim chimney, chim chimney".
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You better read the book
ciffou30 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I think one of the main flaws of this film (and it's not just one) is that you can't feel the stress that nanny expresses on the book. The director/screenplay writer tried to make the character of Mrs. X a little less evil than the book and, in the making, they managed to lose the wit of the book's Nanny. Another thing that really made this a bad adaptation was the fact that nanny was a rookie on her craft...With this change, they managed to lose the sarcastic remarks, her sassy points of view and made it so cliché and predictable. I have to add another problem: the use of the music is excessive! it's a distraction, not a complement and it really doesn't help. Even though the X's and nanny comes to make you tired while reading, that would have allowed an excellent adaptation: shorter but consistent with the humor of the book. I don't understand what's the point of using the dog on the beach if they were not going to use it properly...just to make giammati's character (great actor, awful cast choice) a little easier to be hated. I think it could have been a good could have...
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Better than I expected
ArizWldcat27 August 2007
When this movie was unceremoniously yanked back in April 2007, right before its initially scheduled release, I thought it must be pretty bad. I had enjoyed the book, and so was already disappointed. But I decided to see it anyway, just out of curiosity. At first, I found myself finding when the preschool doors just open up and small children pour out of it onto the street. Like that's going to happen in an urban area ANYWHERE in this country what with all the fear of kidnapping we have these days. That and a few other little niggly details bothered me at first, but as the movie went on, I found myself caring about the characters; enjoying the story. It's not like the book, but that's probably good. I don't think the book is written in a way that would translate well to the big screen. The ending was a bit happier than the book, but in this kind of movie, the happy ending was welcome. I found myself enjoying this movie in spite of my own predisposition to be underwhelmed by it. It's not going to win any Oscars or anything, but I thought it a find effort for all involved, particularly Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, and Scarlet Johansen!
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Better than you'd expect - worth watching
phd_travel28 July 2010
This is better than you'd expect. Do watch it. It is fascinating to watch as it shows a surprisingly not exaggerated view of New York domestic life. It's funny and touching.

Scarlett does a good job - this is the first movie I really liked her in. She is not afraid of looking unglamorous if the role requires it.

Comparing this with Devil Wears Prada - I think this is more realistic, funny and moving. Linney is good as always - doesn't overact. Paul Giamatti is a bit unlikely as a successful finance person. Should have chosen someone a bit more executive like. Alicia Keyes is a bit out of place as the friend - too pretty.
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Fun and witty comedy. That educates and shows who people become thru culture. And we all feel good after a sweet performance from Scarlett Johansson.
Danny Blankenship24 August 2007
"The Nanny Diaries" certainly has to be a feel good summer movie, it's entertaining and sweet and a coming of age story as told thru one characters point of view. The ever beautiful and attractive Scarlett Johansson stars as Annie Braddock a suburban New Jersey girl who just graduates college and she has dreams of becoming an anthropologist. Yet beyond that much isn't clear so Annie moves to New York City to take a job as a nanny and first she feels freedom! Only to soon have reality crash in once she's hired by a Manhattan socialite and sophisticated classy upper east side narcissist called Mrs. X(Laura Linney) who does nothing, but shop and eat out all day and attend glamour events. So it now falls on Annie to look after five year old Grayer(Nicholas Art) and it's very tough as to Mrs. X Annie never does anything right. Also Mr. X isn't much better played okay by Paul Giamatti who really is nothing more than a successful business man who's hooked on any attractive female in a skirt and short shorts. Yet all along the way attachment and friendship is developed between Annie and Grayer a real coming of age story for Annie to see this society in an anthropological way and learn from it and come of age. As in the end Annie convinces Mrs. X to be a loving mom and Annie sees her real passion is grad school not a nanny. Really a touching comedy that educates showing people have to learn thru experience and culture what life is right for them and that dealing with different cultures is a loving and life remembering experience. Scarlett Johansson gives a very sweet and people pleasing performance that she just glows on the screen making this a sleeper hit comedy.
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Nanny and the City
random_guy8522 September 2007
I knew absolutely nothing about this movie going in. Didn't know who was in it or what it was going to be about. To my surprise I enjoyed the well made movie very much. It had great acting, a solid story, and whiles not being original had its own unique charms that makes it a very enjoyable movie.

-The movie tells the story of Annie, who is a recent graduate plucked into a world she wasn't expecting. She plans to be a financial consultant or something like that but ends being a nanny by chance. The rest of the movie follows her on her adventure as she learns what it takes to be a nanny in NY, and also learns what it takes to survive life.

-The film-making technique is not necessarily an original one in which the main character narrates the whole story but what helps in this one is that its quite an entertaining narration and she doesn't narrate the whole movie so it does help. The odd visual style is also nicely done with some unique effects and one really weird scene in which we see Annie flying through New York all Mary Poppins style.

-Scarlett Johansson is building quite an impressive resume with this brilliant movie. Last year she was great in "The Prestige" and now this year she knocks it out of the park in this. I unlike 99.7% of men don't find her hot nor do I fantasize about her, but she is a very good actress and I hope she gets more roles that showcases her acting assets like this one did.

Singer turned actress Alicia Keys plays the best friend Lynette. She's not featured an awful lot in the movie, but the small doses of her are well acted.

Laura Linney plays the cold and kinda misunderstood Mrs. X. Yeah she seems like z shrewd cold hearted woman when we first meet her, but after getting to know her husband Mr. X played the great Paul Giamatti, we begin to understand why she does certain things that she does. Linney has one great scene towards the end of the movie in which she realizes what horrible mother she has been and the way Linney plays that scene is truly the stuff of great acting. Instead of going all over emotional, she simply just lets a tear fall down her face and that simple tear just nails everything she's feeling at that moment.

At the end of the day I really enjoyed this fun movie. It had comedy, romance, child abuse and life lessons. It may not have great replay value but the first viewing should please everyone that watches it.

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Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti (the evil Xs) spew enough venom to kill a rattlesnake. You'll love them!
billstoll24 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is an excellent Date Movie. It peers into the "upper East Side, Manhattan" social society and its parallel Nanny universe. It's faithful to the novel and translates into pure entertainment on screen.

Scarlett Johansson plays Annie Braddock to a T(ee). Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti (as the evil M/M X) spew enough venom to kill a rattlesnake between the pair. You love to hate them! Chris Evans is a lure for the ladies and his chemistry with Scarlett (Annie) works. It is well-balanced fare for a successful date as Summer comes to a close.

Nicholas Art as Grayer is at first troubling (if unruly kids annoy you as they do me); but he slowly carved a place in Annie's (and my) heart. You'll wanna take the kid home with you by film's end.

It's one of the few films that actually gets better with every frame before peaking a moment before the credits roll. The typical recipe these days is a great hook followed by a slow and tedious descent into raw boredom. Nanny Diaries rejuvenated my interest in hitting the theater on date night rather than the book stores.

Is it really like that in their stratosphere? I hope not, but I think so. ... Oy! See it. You'll like it. 8 out of 10.
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satirical feature with excellent Laura Linney
long-ford14 February 2009
This is an entertaining feature, if not as enjoyable as 'The Devil Wears Prada'. 'The Nanny Diaries' takes aim at upper class New Yorkers who neglect their kids leaving them with their hassled nannies. There are numerous stinging barbs and Laura Linney is excellent in a slightly underwritten role as the tyrannical employer. Scarlett Johansson is good as the confused college graduate who bravely enters the bizarre world of New York nannies. Paul Giamatti turns in yet another fine performance as the uncaring adulterous husband. The film is a trifle weak dramatically but the satire more than makes up for it.

Overall 7/10
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Dry Dry Dry Dry...did I say Dry
firefrog256 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The movie was just OK. I found myself searching for other things to do during the movie because it just didn't grip you into the story. The basics of the movie is a college grad flops in her first interview and becomes a nanny by accident. The kid was a brat, they became friends, she told off the mom who was being cheated on and nanny had a secret in the building love. The best part of the movie was Scarlet; she is just gorgeous no matter what role they place her in. Her telling off the teddy bear was pretty funny. Those couple of things were not worth the 1:45 of my life I wasted watching this title. Scarlet I love ya, but better luck next time.
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What a disappointing depressing experience
jboyaquar16 December 2007
What should have been a comedic romp a la 'Sex & The City' with moments of dramatic introspection turned into a hate-filled misanthropic mess. The anthropological voice-over conveniently focused the subject matter and the existential malady facing our heroine. Unfortunately, Scarlett proved once more that although she's a voluptuous figure of epic photographic opportunity, she lacks a buoyant charm to overcome that phlegm ridden congested voice. This was her 'Carrie Bradshaw' role, and she fell flat. The fact she's made too look dawdy and plain doesn't help matters. However, she was not assisted by the dreary subject matter made only worse by the completely unsympathetic drawn-up role of Mrs. X as played by Miss Linney. Outside the opening two scenes, she spends the rest of the film as mega-bitch. And if her villainy wasn't enough, a shockingly hairless Giametti is around to add insult and the excuse for Linney's malevolent behavior. I understand the fanciful attempt of the scenes involving the Mary Poppinesque umbrella - but there's not enough magic in the scenes between Scarlett and 'Grover' for us to care about Scarlett's potential outside the 'X's' home. She doesn't stick up for herself, and there's nary a spark in her eyes. Alicia Keyes's staunch strong presence and voice added some light...but I'm not sure if there's enough acting ability where it can become a day job. The romance is perfunctory.
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patty phillips28 August 2007
This movie was a boring waste of time. Annie the nanny walks around with her mouth open most of the time. Annie has a blank look on her face most of the time also. The book was much better. I would not recommend this movie to anyone. I had really looked forward to the release of this movie only to be very disappointed when it finally was released. I guess you could say that I am not really a fan of Scarlett, as I have never seen her "act", as she always has a blank stare in her eyes and a monotone voice. I had hoped she would do a better job in this movie, but I was sadly disappointed. Do not waste your money on this film, it you must see it, wait, as it will be on satellite before you know it.
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Not Impressed
briana3175 September 2007
A magical red umbrella and a reference to 'Supercallifragilisticexpialidocious!' does not characterize "The Nanny Diaries" as a "modern-day Mary Poppins." If you were to make a "modern-day Mary Poppins," at least make it a decent movie.

"The Nanny Diaries," directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, was based on the novel The Nanny Diaries, written by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. Though the directors cast of some of today's well-known stars like Scarlet Johanssen, Paul Giamatti, Laura Linley, Donna Murphy, and Chris Evans, the movie was bland and lacked a primary theme.

The movie begins with Annie Braddock (Johanssen) a college graduate who is unsure what to do with her life now. After an "unexpected" run-in with a wealthy young boy and his mother in Central Park, Annie goes to work for the Upper East Side family as their nanny. The movie was full of countless clichés: saving her future charge from being run over in the park while his mother is nowhere to be found, being forced to live in a shoe box of a room next to the washing machine, catching Mr. X cheating on his wife, and catching the eye of the rich "Harvard Hottie" who lives on the 12th floor of the apartment building. The movie was so unbelievably predictable it was funny.

The one thing the directors got right was the cast. Nicholas Reese Art plays Grayer, the spoiled, lonely, fun-deprived, adorable little boy with the biggest brown eyes you've ever seen. He is by far the best actor in the movie and the most developed character. Johanssen's performance was mediocre. Her emotions seemed forced at times, but who can blame her with the script she had to work with. Laura Linley does a decent job as bitchy self-centered Mrs. X, and Paul Giamatti does a fantastic job playing the workaholic father with maybe two lines total.

The only reason to see this movie would be to compare it to the novel, but be forewarned that it will be an outrageous disappointment. The film was a cheesy cliché that should have never made it past screening.
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Feels like chamomile tea
mauro volvox17 November 2011
Like chamomile tea, the Nanny Diaries is fragrant, has a delicate almost bland taste, is not bad at all, but after a while is totally forgotten.

It is not going to harm you, but is not going to be a memorable experience either.

For a movie that was supposed to be a comedy, this one is missing a few laughters. There are a few funny moments, but for the most part it is a light drama.

This is a typical chick-flick for a cold rainy day. It is not a kid's movie, by the way...
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Passably Predictable
super1611 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
My vote total is probably not as bad as it seems; I give few movies 8s and 9s and only one movie in the last 10 years has rated as high as a 10. The production values on the movie are good and many of the performances are decent to excellent. Chris Evans is wasted in a role, that as written, could have been done by any cute enough actor of that age. Linney is an excellent actress and did what she could with this role, you cannot fault her performance. However, she has been, as many other users pointed out, far better used and done so much more remarkable work in any number of great movies. This is far from a great movie. Donna Murphy was also wasted in her role. Giamatti obviously enjoyed the role and "chewed" it to good effect, but his was a minor key role in the movie -- not enough to salvage this into a better score. The best performances were by the nannies and some of the mother, with an amusing turn by the facilitator of the Parent's Society meetings. Alicia Keye's existence in this movie, as with the other movie I saw her in, was a pointless addition. While not as bad as some singers trying to act, she did not contribute anything to the movie other than the addition of her name. Finally, Johannsan simply is not a the comic genius the "making of" featurettes make her out to be, certainly not the physical comic implied. While she has been less appealing in other films (The Prestige comes to the fore), the physical schtick they made her go through (such as the fall on receipt of her diploma, or the costumes and other hassles with Grayer/Grover) really was just painful to watch.

The best part is the museum opening. If the movie had maintained that cleverness, it might have accomplished something.
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Flame On, Grover
David Ferguson24 August 2007
Greetings again from the darkness. Seriously, I have nothing against cute movies with a message. What I can't stand are cute movies that aren't cute. Throw in a grating voice-over and cardboard characters and I am definitely OUT.

Somehow a film written and directed by the "American Splendor" team of Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, starring Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti comes across as shallow, poorly written and, at times, laughably unwatchable.

The stereotypes are flowing big time with rich, snobby, out of touch, self-absorbed "upper east siders" on display at every turn. Throw in the "Harvard Hottie" (played by the human torch, Chris Evans) who has the dead mom, boarding school childhood misery going for him, a few misplaced "Mary Poppins" tributes, and the brilliant but poor Anthropology major (Scarlett) who just wants to find herself working as a nanny, and you have the makings of a cheap Oxygen channel comdram. All parties should be embarrassed.

The only semi-bright spots are the icy rich mama played by the talented Linney ... when she flashes that smile or the stare, it does have some impact; and the power broker rich daddy played by the always excellent Giammatti - this time with a stuffy accent! Still the moments of hope are weak and all too infrequent.

Scarlett and Evans are quite the eye candy for the twenty something crowd, but no one involved could possibly feel good about the final product here. Such a waste.
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Inept on almost every level.
BOUF19 September 2007
The cinematography is competent, even pretty, and one of the actors, Stephen O'Reilly, has triumphed over the abysmal script and clunk-ridden direction to actually be an endearing screen presence. It's quite an achievement. I have rarely seen a film which has got everything so wrong. The film begins as though it is a 'fun' anthroplogical study of the customs of the extremely rich. This sequence is heavily laboured and expensively produced. Then we're supposed to believe that our heroine Annie, at her first ever job interview, is so shocked by the question of who she is, that she has an existential crisis. As a result of a chance meeting with a charmless pre-school brat, and his egocentric, anorectic mom, she decides to become a nanny for one of the vilest couples in Manhattan, who treat her like dirt. Although she is under no particular pressure to stay with these morally handicapped tyrants, she does, because of the brat. Nothing and no-one is convincing or funny, except for Mr O'Reilly, who has genuine charm. And I'm not a relative, just a punter, happy for a moment of truth in a vortex of misguided Hollywood madness.
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Did The Director/Screenwriter Even Read The Book?
Jossgod5 June 2009
The movie is barely based on the book. They made the Nanny character (now Annie) a poor New Jersey girl, raised by a single mother, who has no idea what she wants to do with her life. I can't understand for the life of me why they decided to make the character unrecognizable . Why change her into someone who is wishywashy who knows nothing about children? It is uncomfortable watching a character who is so out of her depth, while the Nanny in the book grew up in that society, yet could still see the ridiculousness of it. What was the point of erasing her Dad? Such a pity, because the book is brilliant, and part of what makes it so good is Nanny's apt social commentary, not her shock of being thrown into the deep end of nice, normal, Jersey girl vs rich, stupid, Manhatanities. And a dress-up 4th of July Party? And the whole Harvard Hottie thing just seemed wrong.

Don't even bother watching the movie. Read the book and leave it at that. You'll be much happier.
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Inconsistent and unbelievable character traits
nick-larkin3 March 2008
First of all this movie was too long.

Second of all, to watch Annie be such a strong character normally was nice. However, anytime she is confronted by Mrs. X or the analyst who asks her about how well she educates Grayer, she freezes up into a nervous wreck. This is a big difference from the strong character she already is.

The conflict with the mom is forgotten and moved on with no resolution.

The child is smart but they attempt to add stupid cutesy little lines by him. For instance, he calls the Guggenheim the "Guggyheimy" right before he tells Annie that they can't go to the Museum of Natural History is on the West Side. Are you kidding me?

Finally, there is no spark on screen between Annie and Hayden, and the conflict with her mother takes the backburner to the guy she just met.

Alicia Keys' character as well as Mr. and Mrs. X are the only strong and consistent characters. The others give forgettable performances.
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Superficial Life Lessons Eked Out of a Trivial Urban Fairy Tale
Ed Uyeshima6 January 2008
It's disheartening to see such a sparkling cast put through the motions of a tiresome mainstream trifle like this 2007 adaptation of the lightweight bestseller of the same name by one-time nannies Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. Directed and written by the husband-wife team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (who previously partnered on the smart and quirky "American Splendor" about underground comic book writer Harvey Pekar), this movie would seem ripe for a sharp satire about the privileged class on the Upper East Side. However, the trite life-lessons orientation of this modern-day fairy tale escapes their idiosyncratic grasp, and the result is a superficial slog with a particularly narcissistic perspective.

The story centers on New Jersey-bred Annie Braddock, freshly graduated with honors from NYU, who realizes during a corporate interview that she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. As an anthropology major, she sees life as a series of Museum of Natural History dioramas (a particularly contrived device used repeatedly in the film). By happenstance in Central Park, she is recruited to become a nanny for the unfortunately named Grayer, the towheaded son of a glamorous, designer-clothed society matron referred to as Mrs. X. The trappings are luxurious at Mrs. X's apartment, but things go sour almost immediately when Mrs. X's demands on Annie become excessive. It turns out that the Mrs. X is in a bad marriage which has left the Mrs. desperate for her workaholic husband's attentions while ignoring her son. As this personal drama unfolds, Grayer becomes attached to Annie, and she responds in kind, which of course, can only lead to complications.

As much as I like Scarlett Johansson, she is not a natural at this type of character-driven comedy (unless you count the skits she does on "Saturday Night Live" where she plays Lexie, the glammed-up Jersey girl pointing repeatedly to chandeliers and marble columns). She just isn't that credible as a dowdy, naïve post-graduate perhaps because she has already been seen in past films as a savvy and often world-weary bombshell. Her physical antics here seem especially strained and her tirades rather forced. It's not a bad performance as much as it is a misuse of her talent. Faring somewhat better is the always reliable Laura Linney, who gets to look gorgeous for a change and then uncover a wickedly vituperative woman rattled by her deep-seeded insecurity. The relationship between the two characters will likely remind you of "The Devil Wears Prada", a much better adaptation of a lightweight roman-a-clef, although Mrs. X is not as complex or intimidating a character as fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly.

Relegated to the sidelines is Paul Giamatti properly villainous as Mr. X, an adulterous, insensitive lout of a husband and father. Chris Evans colorlessly plays Harvard Hottie, Annie's preppy, kind-hearted suitor upstairs, while Nicholas Art simply doesn't register any real warmth as Grayer. Broadway great Donna Murphy shows up effectively as Annie's working-nurse mother, Julie White has a few funny moments as an unctuous training seminar leader, and pop singer Alicia Keys plays the requisite best pal role with bohemian spunk. The story's resolution feels particularly pat. The 2007 DVD has a few extras - no commentary track but a standard making-of featurette about 17 minutes long. The second short, "Confessions from the Original Nannies: The Authors of the Bestselling Book", is marginally more interesting as the book's co-authors Kraus and McLaughlin discuss their own experiences as nannies and the book-to-movie transformation. Lastly, there is an amazingly dull blooper reel plus the original theatrical trailer.
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