Little Black Book

"Good"

Little Black Book Review


On its surface, "Little Black Book" looks like an tritely pedestrian, gimmick-driven chick flick about an emotionally mixed-up career gal who gets more than she bargained for when she rifles through her boyfriend's Palm Pilot looking up old girlfriends.

So imagine my surprise at being thoroughly entertained by this weightless but canny comedy blessed with characters whose personalities aren't dependant upon plot devices, with snappy, spontaneous dialogue (even witty internal-monologue narration), with a story that flows organically, and with a very human heroine who (gasp!) isn't always likable.

Brittany Murphy plays a sweetly self-conscious aspiring TV journalist -- trapped in an associate producer job at a trashy TV talk show -- who is goaded into nagging doubts about her adoring boyfriend by tittle-tattling coworkers (especially the charismatically tart Holly Hunter) who have been warped into habitual scandal-mongers by years of wrangling prostitute grandmothers and midget Ku Klux Klansmen for a living. (Kathy Bates has a ball as the show's shameless, tyrannical host.)

When her man (Ron Livingston from "Swingers") accidentally leaves his electronic organizer at home during a road trip (he's a recruiter for the New Jersey Devils), Murphy's curiosity gets the best of her. "Seconds before I opened that silver case," she says in voice-over, "I imaged unleashing all the evil into the world. I was Pandora.... But then I got over it."

Pretty soon she's dug herself into a deep moral abyss, using her job as a front for literally interviewing -- and sometimes befriending -- a nightmare parade of intimidating ex-lovers. One's a sexually insatiable fashion model, one's an over-achieving gynecologist (who Murphy thought was a podiatrist when she made an appointment pretending to have warts), one's a perfect girl-next-door who is still holding a torch for the guy -- and much to the paranoid dismay of Murphy's over-active imagination, she discovers he hasn't exactly severed ties with all of them.

Although peppered with the occasional pratfall (while walking the boyfriend's huge dog, etc.) and other small touches of more cumbersome comedy, the movie is driven by Murphy's twinkle-eyed charm, Hunter's unaffected genius with a tangy rejoinder, and rookie writer Melissa Carter's amusingly acerbic twists of irony and consequence. It's not a major departure from the sugary genre norm, but "Little Black Book" definitely doesn't go where romantic comedy convention says it should.

The movie does have a couple hiccups in the last act, one of which makes it hard to sympathize with any of the characters when they don't extradite themselves from a very embarrassing situation. But Carter and director Nick Hurran make up for it with a refreshing finale that threatens chick flick conformity before taking an abrupt left turn.



Little Black Book

Facts and Figures

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th August 2004

Box Office USA: $20.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $20.4M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Revolution Studios

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 87

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Stacy, as Barb, as Kippie Kann, as Derek, as Ira, as Lulu Fritz, as Joyce, as Dr. Rachel Keyes, as Larry

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.