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Uptown Girls

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Uptown Girls

Starring: Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning
Director: Boaz Yakin
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: August 2003
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Marley Shelton, Donald Adeosun Faison, Heather Locklear, Michael Urie, Tony Devon, Angelina Hong, Pell James, Bill Kotsatos

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

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

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