UPTOWN GIRLS is a fairytale about Ray Schleine (Dakota Fanning), a little
girl who refuses to be a kid, and Molly Gunn (Brittany Murphy), a young
woman who doesn't know how to be an adult. Both females developed their
complexes because of a tragedy involving their fathers.
An unsatisfactory mix of comedy and drama, the movie left our packed
audience cold. About the only reaction they had was to repeat out loud some
of the lines shown in the trailers since they had heard them so often. The
humor, which worked nicely in the trailers, isn't effective in the context
of the picture itself. The laughless comedy might have been saved by its
sugary ending if we had come to care about the characters, which we hadn't.
Dakota Fanning (I AM SAM) is an accomplished actress who does everything
asked of her in UPTOWN GIRLS. The problem is that her character is too
strident to be believable and is way overwritten. The movie turns the
actress into a line-spewing automaton rather than a real human being.
Brittany Murphy (8 MILE) isn't given much more to work with either. Her
character is stuck with cheesy pratfalls and incredible stupidity in order
to generate laughs -- which never come.
The movie's plot has Molly becoming Ray's nanny. Molly, who was used to a
life of luxury, is forced into a working-class existence after the
administrator for her father's estate skips the country with all of the
money. Ray is an anal retentive kid with a type-A personality. Her mother
stays AWOL from the house, and her father, who stays in a closed-off
bedroom, is a vegetable who is cared for by a live-in nurse. Ray's normal
modus operandi is to run through several nannies per month. Think that
Molly will be the first one to stick around? Think Ray might get rid of her
obnoxious protective shield? Think the two females might end up bonding?
You're so smart. I just wish that the two actresses had developed some real
chemistry and the script had produced some credible characters. The movie
is a waste, but both actresses are talented enough to make it merely a blip
in their careers.
UPTOWN GIRLS runs 1:32. It is rated PG-13 for "sexual content and language"
and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 14, giving it **, complained the movie had good
potential which it never used. Overall, he thought that the story was too
unbelievable and weird, although he did like its ending.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes