Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Little Black Book

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Little Black Book is the story of a young singleton on a path to self-discovery, but the only thing I discovered is that pounding your head into the seat in front of you for 90 minutes can leave a mark.

Well, that and Hollywood never seems to run out of ways to let coquettish stars like Brittany Murphy dance around in their skivvies.

Yes, the wonderful Holly Hunter appears as well, but don’t let that fool you. “Little Black Book” is less smart than it is funny. And it ain’t funny.

Murphy portrays a Jersey girl who, in an attempt to break into broadcast journalism, becomes an associate producer on a smutty television talk show. At the same time, she discovers her boyfriend’s little black book is on his Palm Pilot, and in a fit of stalker-like jealousy, she decides to hunt down his exes. She goes undercover and discovers secrets about her boyfriend’s past. All this is supposed to lead to self-discovery.

“Huh?” you say. I hear you.

As ridiculous as the story sounds, goofy plot twists and unlikable characters sour it even more.

Never mind that Murphy herself continues to disappoint. One of today’s most one-dimensional actresses, Murphy again does little more than bat her big eyes and try to look innocent as she behaves badly. And there’s no little Dakota Fanning (Uptown Girls) to rescue her here (Little Black Book is even worse, if that is possible).

What’s more, Little Black Book is studded with gag-inducing voice-over monologues from Murphy’s character. She even compares herself to Alice in Wonderland, wondering, if she fell down the rabbit hole, would she come out the same at the other end?

I say it again: Huh?

Sadly, Little Black Book takes down other, more credible stars as well.

Hunter, who I hope really needed the paycheck, is fiery and brassy, but her efforts are wasted on a silly character.

Carly Simon got roped in, adding her catalog of heartfelt anthems to the sound track. Diane Sawyer and hubby Mike Nichols also lend their names to the story.

In fact, several references to Nichols’ classic Working Girl made me wish I was at home watching Melanie Griffith outwit Sigourney Weaver on DVD, rather than sitting through this, pounding my forehead into the seat in front of me.

E-mail Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey at letters@metrotimes.com.

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