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Little Black Book

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Little Black Book

Starring: Brittany Murphy, Kathy Bates
Director: Nick Hurran
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: August 2004
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Holly Hunter, Ron Livingston, Rick Overton, Tim McKay, Josie Maran, Rashida Jones, Gary Hoffman, Trent Gill, Lee Cherry, Jason Antoon

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

In this banal romantic comedy, Brittany Murphy stars as Stacy Holt, an idealistic, ambitious associate TV producer for Kippie Kann (Kathy Bates), a once-popular Oprah-type talk show hostess whose cheesy syndicated program emanates from New Jersey.

When Stacy's live-in boyfriend Derek (Ron Livingston), a scout for a hockey team, goes off on a business trip, he accidentally leaves his Palm Pilot behind. Urged by an acerbic co-worker (Holly Hunter) to "look under the hood before you purchase the car," Stacy decides to do some "research" (i.e.: snooping) about his past. That involves an investigation of three of Derek's former girl-friends: a bulimic supermodel (Josie Maran), a self-absorbed gynecologist (Rashida Jones) and a wholesome, endearing chef (Julianne Nicholson). Cute and confused Stacy learns more about herself than about Derek as she's forced to confront her own doubts and insecurities - while stoutly maintaining that Carly Simon's songs have the answers to all life's questions.

Screenwriters Melissa Carter and Elisa Bell spice up workplace nuggets from "Broadcast News" and "Working Girl" with philosophical clichés like "omissions are betrayals" and "knowledge is a terrible and marvelous thing," while British TV director Nick Carter simply propels the pace as fast as he can, using slapstick comedy as a distraction from the confused script's obvious inadequacies and stale, dated view of daytime television. What may have been an intriguing premise simply flounders, emerging as an innocuous sit-com. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Little Black Book" is a shallow, futile 5 that even a fluffy, feel-good ending cannot retrieve. "I need a reality check," whines Stacy. So does this movie.

Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger

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