The movie starts off in a museum. As the camera moves through the museum displays we see that they are scenes of child rearing in different cultures (ex. a scene of a mother and child in Africa and one of a family in the Amazon). Next, we are taken to the final display---child rearing in the Upper East Side of New York City. The main character, Annie Braddock (Scarlett Johannsen), narrates that after "successful copulation," the Upper East Side males become distant and uninterested in their families (we are then shown one display of a man with a stripper, another of two men playing golf, and the last one of a man who is too engrossed in his job. Basically, the males become interested in everything but their own families). Meanwhile, the Upper East Side women are also shown indulging in their own rituals such as, "body mutilation" (cut to a display of a woman getting botox), and "dieting rituals" (display of a woman hovering over the toilet. I think we all know what kind of "dieting" that is). Annie's narration continues saying that while the parents of the Upper East Side do their own thing, the actual caretakers of their children are the nannies. Finally, we are taken to a display of Annie pointing and presumably yelling at a teddy bear. However, at this point, it is not clear why she is so upset with the bear
Now the story begins.
The next scene is of a college graduation ceremony and we see Annie receiving her diploma. She is mousy and somewhat nerdy looking (she even trips and falls in front of EVERYONE as she walks up onstage to get her diploma). We are then taken to a diner where Annie and her mother are having lunch. Annie really wants to be an anthropologist, but it is clear that her mother does not believe that there is a real career in that field. Her mother, who is a nurse (important later), wants Annie to have a career in finance. In fact, Annie has an interview with a top company called Goldman Sacks and her mother has dreams of her becoming a CFO. The film then cuts to the next day and we see Annie making her way to the interview. As she gets on the subway, she runs into her friend Lynette (Alicia Keyes). The two converse for a bit and Lynette teases Annie about her lack of a social life. During her interview, everything seems to be going well until the interviewer says, "So tell me. Who is Annie Braddock?" Annie begins to answer, but quickly realizes that she has no idea and runs out of the interview.
Annie is now sitting in the park wondering what to do with her life. As she sits and thinks she notices a little boy stop suddenly in the middle of the trail to tie his shoes. A man is on the same trail riding one of those Segway PT devices (that two-wheeled scooter looking device with a big wheel on each side). The guy gets distracted by a scantily clad woman and doesn't notice that he is about to hit the boy. Annie sees this and quickly grabs the boy and pushes him out of the way just in time. She asks him who he belongs and he replies, "I belong to you" and hugs her (very cute scene). Grayer’s mother, Mrs. X (Laura Linney) finds them and introduces herself. However, when Annie introduces herself and says, "I'm Annie," Mrs. X mishears her and thinks she said "Nanny." Her face immediately lights up when she thinks that Annie is a nanny and gives her a card with her name (it just says Mrs. X) and her telephone number. However, as Mrs. X walks away, Annie soon realizes that other mothers have also overheard that she is a nanny and offer her jobs as well. They also give her cards with their names and telephone numbers and want to set up times to meet with her and discuss working for them. When they all finally walk away, Annie looks at all of the cards she received. In just a short period of time she had gone from worrying about getting one job to having numerous ones thrown at her.
Annie goes on numerous interviews with the socialite moms, many of which don't go very well. She finally meets with Mrs. X and decides to work for her. (Just to note, Mrs. X only refers to Annie as “nanny”). The next scene shows Lynette helping Annie move out of her mother's house. It is very clear that Annie does not want to tell her mother that she is a nanny, which Lynette totally disagrees with. In fact, Lynette does not even like the idea of Annie being a nanny.
Annie arrives at a very upper class apartment complex and makes her way up to Mrs. X's apartment. When she knocks on the door, she is greeted by a curmudgeon housekeeper. She is given a letter from Mrs. X which basically tells her, "Welcome" and "Make your self at home." Annie walks around the huge apartment and goes through each room. She finally arrives in a very nice looking bedroom and immediately makes herself comfortable in it. She notices that the room also has its own bathroom and decides to take a bath. While she is relaxing in the bath, she continues to read the letter. However, her relaxation is cut short when Mrs. X walks in and tells her that this is NOT her room and takes her to where she will actually be staying. It is a small room with a bed, a desk and a window that looks out onto ----a brick wall.
She is immediately sent on her first assignment, which is to pick Grayer up from school. Annie arrives at the school at the time Mrs. X tells her--2:15pm. However, when she gets there, she finds out that the school does not let out until 2:45pm. Annie soon realizes that Mrs. X just wanted her to get there early or "painfully early" as Annie puts it. Finally, 2:45p arrives and the children come running and screaming out of the school. Annie soon finds Grayer and he quickly begins to give her a hard time. Upon first seeing her, he kicks her in the leg and then runs away. His current attitude towards her is completely different than what it had been in the park. They finally arrive back at the apartment where Grayer refuses to get off of the elevator. Annie tries to get Grayer to come out by telling him that they should race to the door. Grayer races to the door, but purposely pulls down Annie's pants in the process. He then races into the apartment and locks Annie out. As she tries to convince him to open the door a young man, simply named Harvard Hottie (Chris Evans), comes off the elevator and sees Annie standing in the hallway with her pants down and her underwear showing. After a brief conversation, Harvard Hottie is able to convince Grayer to open the door. We then see a montage of Grayer giving Annie a hard time (he throws food during dinner, acts up while clothes shopping, etc). One night while in her room, Annie gets a call from her mother. She still thinks that Annie got the job at Goldman Sacks and wants to come and visit her. Suddenly, Mrs. X bursts into the room and runs off a whole new list of tasks for Annie. All the while, her mother is on the phone, but Annie quickly hangs up before she can get suspicious.
The next day, Annie is cooking (or trying to cook) some exotic French dish for Grayer. However, as she puts the dish together it falls onto the floor. Grayer once again gives her a hard time by laughing at her and threatening to tell his mother. Annie has had enough. She goes over to the cabinet and pulls out a jar of one of those peanut butter and jelly combos. She tells Grayer to eat it, which he is hesitant about at first. She finally convinces him to eat it and---he loves it! They soon begin to bond and Annie even gives him a code name, Grover. Their meal is cut short, however, when Mr. X (Paul Giamatti) arrives. Grayer becomes excited and immediately runs to his father, who picks him up and talks to him for a while. However, Mr. X quickly goes into his office and leaves his son outside of his door. Annie notices the hurt look on his face, but cheers him up again when she suggests getting back to their meal of peanut butter and jelly. Later that night, Annie is putting Grayer to bed when he suddenly asks her if she will leave him like his other nanny did. Annie tells him that she is not going anywhere.
In the next scene, we see that Annie has been given another task which is to take Grayer to the Fourth of July family party at Mr. X’s office. Annie and Grayer are shown wearing a Fourth of July style wardrobe, with Annie most likely dressed as Betsy Ross and Grayer as George Washington. During the party, he tells Annie that he has to go to the bathroom. While they look for a restroom, Grayer states that his father has one in his office. As they go inside, they see Mr. X fooling around with one of the woman he works with. It’s clear that Mr. X doesn’t really care about being caught because when Annie states that Grayer has to use the bathroom, Mr. X turns around and simply says, “So use it already.” Annie goes out into the hallway to wait for Grayer and sees Mrs. X approaching Mr. X’s office. However, Mr. X comes out of the office before she can go in. Mrs. X most likely knows about her husband’s infidelity, but it is obvious that she chooses to ignore it. When they arrive home that night the two get into a big argument about his whereabouts and why he wasn’t at the actual party like all the other families were. Mr. X then throws some harsh words at Mrs. X. All the while, Annie and Grayer are within earshot, but try to tune them out. While Annie and Grayer talk, Grayer suddenly tells Annie that he loves her and Annie tells Grayer that she loves him too. Later that night, Mrs. X rushes into the room holding up a piece of lingerie. She exclaims that since this lingerie does not belong to her, it must belong to Annie, right? Of course, it does not belong to Annie, but when she hears the desperation in Mrs. X’s voice she states that it does indeed belong to her.
The next day, Mrs. X has Annie take Grayer for the day (even though it is supposed to be Annie’s day off). When Annie and Grayer arrive back at the apartment, Mrs. X tells her that she has to attend The Nanny Conflict Resolution Seminar with her. Annie reminds her that she was supposed to have the day off today, but Mrs. X tells her that she has to go. At the seminar, the nannies are all put into one room with the children while the mothers are all sitting in another. The nannies are soon called into the room with the socialite moms. The woman who is heading the seminar asks some of the mothers to state some conflicts that they are facing with the nannies, which they openly share. Next, the woman asks the nannies to share some issues that they have with the mothers. Obviously, none of the nannies want to say anything. Since there are no volunteers, the woman chooses Annie to speak. At first, Annie does not want to say anything, but after a little while she admits that she would like a day off once in a while. When they arrive home that night Mrs. X (clearly annoyed by what Annie said in front of everyone at the seminar) tells Annie to take the rest of the night off. We later see Annie and her friend Lynette at a bar having drinks. Although she is out with her friend, she constantly talks about her job and the situation with Mrs. X, which greatly annoys Lynette. She tells Annie to stop talking about this family and try to have a good time. In fact, she turns Annie’s attention toward a table of college-aged boys, one of whom is Harvard Hottie. This makes Lynette push Annie even harder into going over to talk to them. The girls go over to the table where Harvard Hottie introduced them to his friends. While they talk, one of the guys asks Annie what she does and she tells them that she is a nanny. They immediately begin making comments about how hot that is (one guy even says, “Whoa. That is so porno.”). They even ask her if the husbands have a thing for her or if she has a thing for the husbands. Annie, clearly annoyed, stated that the husbands are, “chubby, bald, steak eating, cigar smoking, type A pigs.” She also goes on to tell these guys that the husbands will be them in about five years and to enjoy life while they can because she has seen their futures and they’re pretty bleak. With that, she leaves. Later that night, Annie gets a message from Harvard Hottie apologizing fro his friend’s behavior and asking her out on a date.
The next day, we see that Annie’s mother still wants to come up and visit her. Annie arrives at Lynette’s apartment and tells her that they have to pretend that this is Annie’s apartment since her mother is coming to visit. While they are having dinner, Mrs. X calls to remind Annie that Grayer’s birthday party is the next day and to also tell her that someone sent her roses (from Harvard Hottie). Annie doesn’t tell her that they are from him, but Mrs. X tells her that since Grayer is allergic to pollen, she will have to throw them out. We next see Grayer and Annie sitting through a very boring birthday party while Mr. and Mrs. X argue in the background. Someone knock at the door and when Annie answers it she sees that it is Harvard Hottie asking why she threw his flowers away (the ones Mrs. X threw out). He then asks her out again and refuses to leave until she says yes, which she does. When Annie goes back inside, we see that Grayer is upset with his birthday party. Mrs. X tries to comfort him, but he runs right past her and runs to Annie.
That night, Annie and Harvard Hottie go on their date and have a very nice time. As the date comes to an end, Harvard Hottie makes it makes it clear that he wants to kiss her, but it doesn’t happen. We now see them riding the elevator to their floors. Annie gets off on her floor, but hesitates as she walks to the door. She suddenly takes the stairs and rushes upstairs. Harvard Hottie has just gotten off on his floor when he sees Annie burst through the door of the stairwell. They kiss and end up going inside his apartment.
The next day, Annie is helping Mrs. X get dressed. Mr. X is taking her out to dinner for their anniversary and she is very excited. The phone rings and Annie answers it, it’s Mr. X. He tells her to tell his wife that he is not going to make it to dinner because his flight has been cancelled. When Annie tells Mrs. X, it is clear that she knows he is lying because she called the airport and there were no delays or cancellations. Later, as Annie and Grayer are leaving the building, Mrs. X is having luggage put into a taxi. She tells Annie that she is going away for a little while to relax. As she leaves, Grayer tells Annie that he doesn’t feel good and ends up with a temperature of 104 degrees. Annie leaves several messages for Mrs. X, but never gets a call back. Annie then calls Lynette and asks her what she should do stating that he needs a doctor. Lynette then tells Annie that she already knows a nurse---her mom. Annie’s mom comes over and helps to take care of Grayer and eventually he gets better and his temperature goes down. When he finally goes to sleep, Annie’s mother expresses her disappointment with the fact that Annie has not only lied to her, but has chosen this career path. The conversation is cut short when Mrs. X enters in from her vacation. When she asks Annie who this woman is she says that this is her mother. Mrs. X looks surprised because Annie has never mentioned that she had a mother. Annie’s mother leaves and Mrs. X exclaims that she, Mr. X, Grayer, and Annie are all going to Nantucket for vacation.
The group arrives in Nantucket and while there Mrs. X surprises Mr. X by inviting his mother to the vacation house. She then states that she did it because she wanted to share the good new with herMrs. X is having another baby. The next day, The X’s are throwing a party at the house. Annie is in the bathroom when she overhears Mrs. X talking to someone about her. She reveals that she has installed a nanny cam in their home to keep an eye on her. The other woman even suggests that Mrs. X should fire her. The next morning, Annie is in the kitchen washing dishes when Mr. X enters. He starts to complain that there is no orange juice, so Annie gets the frozen orange juice from the freezer. He then complains that he wants fresh squeezed orange juice, but Annie tells him that they don’t have any. Mr. X begins eyeing Annie and eventually goes over to her and suggests that they “go to the market together and get some.” Annie backs away, but not before Mrs. X catches them. Later on, Mrs. X talks to Annie about her poor behavior and believes that it has something to do with her seeing Harvard Hottie. She even admits that he has called several times, but she “forgot" to mention it. Mrs. X tells Annie that they are letting her go and have arranged for a cab to come and pick her up. As Annie gets into the taxi, Grayer shows up and tries to run to her asking her not to go and as the cab pulls off he chases it down the road.
Annie has returned to the X’s apartment to collect the rest of her things. Obviously upset, she goes around Grayer’s room looking for the nanny cam that was installed. She finally finds it in a teddy bear on the dresser and decides that there are a few things that she would like to get off of her chest. The scene cuts to the Parent’s Society where all the socialite moms are meeting. Mrs. X pulls out the tape from the nanny cam and explains that she had to fire her nanny because of her bad behavior and this tape is proof of that very behavior. They begin to watch the tape, but there is nothing on there showing Annie’s “bad behavior”. Instead, it is of Annie telling off Mrs. X and explaining that it is her who has the bad attitude. She then begins to talk about Grayer and what a wonderful child he is and how he wants his mom to care about him. By the end of the speech, we see that Mrs. X has been struck by Annie’s words and she quickly leaves.
Some time has gone by and we see that Annie’s mother has finally agreed with her studying Anthropology. Annie and Harvard Hottie, who’s actual name by the way is Hayden, begin dating. She receives a letter from Mrs. X stating that she has left Mr. X (she faked the pregnancy to ensure that he would stay with her) and she is spending more and more time with Grayer. She also tells Annie thank you and that she is sorry. We also find out that Mrs. X’s real name is Alexandra.
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