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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.3%
Worth A Look: 5.26%
Average: 14.04%
Pretty Bad: 28.07%
Total Crap33.33%

4 reviews, 33 user ratings

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Uptown Girls
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by EricDSnider

"Brittany Murphy, take your man voice and go away."
2 stars

"Uptown Girls" is a bewildering film. It would appear to be a syrupy, female version of "About a Boy," in which an irresponsible, terminally unemployed grownup is taught important life lessons through a friendship with a precocious youngster. But it turns out to be more somber than that, the sort of film that shuffles along sleepily, dazedly, barely aware of what it's doing and hardly caring whether the audience is still following it or not. I was wide awake for the entire movie, but I emerged from it feeling disoriented and logy, like I'd just had a nap.

Brittany Murphy plays Molly Gunn, daughter of the legendary fictional rock star Tommy Gunn, who died years ago, leaving Molly set for life in a swanky Manhattan suite. Now, however, on the eve of her 22nd birthday, Dad's accountant has fled the country with all of Molly's money, leaving her penniless and jobless. She has not worked a day in her life and seems unfamiliar with the concept, but her devoted friends do their best to get her on her feet.

She winds up working as a nanny for 8-year-old Ray Schleine (Dakota Fanning), an obsessive-compulsive miniature grownup whose mother (Heather Locklear) is a music executive with no time for motherhood. Ray disapproves of Molly's immaturity; Molly is mortified at how Ray has removed all the fun from childhood. Surely they will together learn much about the ways of the world.

For the most part, it's useless, watered-down comedy on the level of Molly opening an over-stuffed closet and winding up under an avalanche of junk. (For some reason, every time this gag appears on film, it is a pile of shoeboxes. Who keeps that many shoeboxes stacked in a closet?) Later, we are treated to the shopworn classic of borrowing a handkerchief to blow one's nose, doing so loudly and wetly, attempting to return the hankie to its owner, and being told, "No, you keep it." I was astonished that this bit actually garnered a laugh from a gentleman seated near me. Is it possible this man had never before seen a motion picture or television show and thus was not familiar with the gag? The mind reels.

At any rate, the comedy is weak, but harmless. It is the film's plot devices, sudden reversals of tone and illogical leaps that brand it the work of amateurs (three writers are credited).

For example, Molly meets up-and-coming musician Neil (Jesse Spencer) and throws herself at him embarrassingly, presumably for laughs, though it is hard to appreciate the humor when the person is behaving so out-of-character. Neil has taken a Morrissey-esque vow of celibacy, which Molly quickly breaks him of. Next thing you know, Neil is telling Molly they can't see each other anymore, and the trouble with this is, they never WERE seeing each other. Evidently, the screenwriters were familiar with "we can't see each other anymore" scenes from good movies they'd watched, and they wanted to include one in their movie, even if it didn't fit.

Later, Molly is strangely discourteous to her friends, for no discernible reason other than that it allows for a reconciliation scene later -- again, perhaps one of the things the writers were fond of and wished to include, regardless of its belonging or not belonging.

I also wish to mention Neil's character. He shuns Molly because she smothers him, but then uses her as a muse to write the worst pop song ever written (it's called "Sheets of Egyptian Cotton"), but then continues to shun her, even though she proved useful.

There is also a weird "Secret Garden" feel to the whole thing, what with Ray's comatose father living in the library and Ray being sad all the time.

Molly and Ray's relationship is one of the film's better aspects, but only because it is not egregiously unbelievable, thus putting it a step above all the other relationships in the movie. Brittany Murphy is a likable actress, but she must be given characters who behave more consistently and who have a purpose. Dakota Fanning, on the other hand, needs to go away until she is 18, at which point she may return and slowly work her way into films again. But she is currently too cute and precious to be tolerated by civilized human beings.

And so the film works its way up to its non-climax, when all the loose ends get wrapped up and absolutely nothing unusual or surprising happens. The end is much like the end of a dream. It's not that the plot drove it to a finale; it's that it simply and arbitrarily chose to end.

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originally posted: 08/16/03 09:48:12
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User Comments

2/21/11 art DAKOTA is really a MINI-ME CLONE of BRITANY! 1 stars
5/27/06 sachin manseta 5 stars
5/10/06 Jenna It was a good movie 5 stars
3/22/06 Katie<3 This movies was amazing. i absolutely ADORED it. whoever says its bad doesn't know anything 5 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes Dakota's the only bright spot of the sad-sack party 1 stars
7/22/05 ali aas 1 stars
3/06/05 ashley humphrey none 4 stars
1/29/05 blueviolet I was expecting a fun movie but it was depressing and bummed me out 3 stars
1/24/05 ASHA COOPER it suck's bad 1 stars
7/07/04 ali ali 5 stars
3/27/04 Nicole Aww this movies so cute.. birtneys a good actress to! 5 stars sexi mammi! 5 stars
3/23/04 Danielle THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER!!! 5 stars
2/22/04 carrie Pretty cute movie...would see again! 4 stars
2/15/04 Jingo P. Murphytalent rates somewhere with the left testicle of a wildebeast. 1 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Awful performances and unfunny screenplay; one of the worst of 2003. 1 stars
1/10/04 Me This is a great movie. It is worth seeing. 5 stars
1/08/04 KICK ASS OR DONT COME HOME! those 2 are like micheal jackson and peter pan,just hideous!!!! 2 stars
12/02/03 Chris We all know what to expect by the poster (chick flick) but it's a good one. 4 stars
11/10/03 Rhonda Blankenship Annoying for a while, then threatens to end repeatedly, before real (supposedly happy) end 3 stars
11/09/03 Allison O'Silla Another stinkin' BM movie. When'll BM learn what makes for good flicks? 2 stars
11/07/03 Green Beret Packers Brittany Murphy must've done this film to make JUST MARRIED look comparatively good. 1 stars
9/28/03 Willow Rosenberg I fucking LOVED this movie! Brittany Murphy is awesome. 5 stars
9/23/03 Torrey Dixson It was great I want to meet dakota and be like her. 5 stars
8/31/03 Alice 1 stars
8/30/03 your worst goddamn nightmare this movie sucked ass, but i snuggled to a gorgeous girl so i'll give it an extra point! 2 stars
8/29/03 Mack Intosh Holy mother of god, does this movie STINK! 1 stars
8/26/03 Chrys come on people. help get rid of fucking nauseating precocious kids, a la fanning. 1 stars
8/22/03 johnny brittany needs to eat a carrot 1 stars
8/20/03 Arianna great full of exitment 5 stars
8/18/03 MEEE great fun 5 stars
8/16/03 Jin Murphy is rotten and her cutesy routine is so played... 1 stars
8/15/03 Atanu Nauseating kid. Fanning should be banned from the industry. 1 stars
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  15-Aug-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 06-Jan-2004



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