Little Black Book

on August 06, 2004 by Bridget Byrne
Print
It's neither romantic nor funny. These days that's no real surprise. Charming romantic comedy is a very elusive genre in Hollywood productions like this that tend to pit women against men in situations charged with emotions more suitable for the hard drive of X-Games and/or the unethical mores of television reality shows. To give the creators of "Little Black Book" credit, they have tried to also make fun of the kind of crass behavior currently so popular on TV, hoping not only to be amusing and cute but also satirical. But they don't succeed.

Brittany Murphy brings wide-eyed good looks but not much else to the role of Stacy Holt, who, instead of telling her pleasant if uninspiring boyfriend there's stuff about his life she'd like to know, decides to pry into his palm pilot. She discovers things she doesn't fully understand but doesn't like anyway. She's egged on by her apparent friend, a coworker at a daytime talk show, where getting real people with major problems to act out is the name of the game. Inevitably, because this story wants to make a moral point, she's hoisted by her own petard, or whatever the current idiom is for that comeuppance.

The director's best efforts to try to balance heart with farce and nice-girl folly with mean-girl meddling do not create any sort of believable whole. It's fairly astounding to see actresses of the caliber of Holly Hunter (as the sneaky producer) and Kathy Bates (as the talk show host) stuck with such dreadful roles. Julianne Nicholson plays the only sympathetic character--the boyfriend's ex--and she does it with charm, but gets much too much screen time, which further unbalances an already clunky plot that tries to add dimension by drenching us in Carly Simon songs. Inevitably, a nice big dog has a featured role, but he mainly gets used for cheap jokes about bad smells and inappropriate licking. At least he has an excuse. He's just a dog. Everyone else should have known better. Starring Brittany Murphy, Holly Hunter, Ron Livingston, Julianne Nicholson and Kathy Bates. Directed by Nick Hurran. Written by Melissa Carter and Elisa Bell. Produced by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Deborah Schindler, William Sherak and Jason Shuman. A Columbia release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for sexual content/humor and language. Running time: 105 min

Tags: No Tags
Print

read all Reviews »


0 Comments

No comments were posted.

What do you think?