The Nanny Diaries

Wealthy New Yorkers don’t often get skewered so mercilessly as in this comedy by writing and directing duo Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor), but the audacity turns out to be deceptive and formulaic. Adapted from a novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, and framed as a pseudoethnographic exercise, the story follows a New Jersey girl (Scarlett Johansson) who’s hired as a nanny by Upper East Side monsters (Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti). The characters are instantly reversiblethe bratty kid turns out to be a sweetie pie, the mother just needs to be told off. Only Giamatti, as the cliched businessman husband, is irredeemable, and he’s offset by the heroine’s dreamy beau (Chris Evans), who lives in the same building. PG-13, 106 min. (JR)

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