Saturday, March 17, 2018
UPTOWN GIRLS (2003)
Directed By: Boaz Yakin
Written By: Julia Dahl, Mo Ogrodnik & Lisa Davidowitz
Story By: Alison Jacobs
Cinematography By: Michael Ballhaus
Editor: David Ray
Cast: Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Donald Faison, Marley Shelton, Jesse Spencer, Heather Locklear, Pell James, Austin Pendelton
Molly Gunn, the freewheeling daughter of a deceased rock legend, is forced to get a job when her manager steals her money. As nanny for precocious Ray, the oft ignored daughter of a music executive, she learns what it means to be an adult while teaching Ray how to be a child.
It takes a whole lot for me not only to not like at least something in a movie but to actually fail it. Even SHOWGIRLS didn’t manage that feat, but I didn’t like one thing in this movie other than the trailer. I didn’t even like this films credits.
Sitting through 90 minutes of this so called film. All I ask of you is to bear with me and read this as a warning. Hopefully this answers any lingering questions you had about the movie. Don’t be fooled it looks entertaining but it isn’t even so bad it’s good or embarrassingly funny.
Where to start in this monstrosity, the film is about a rock star’s daughter he has been living off of her trust when she discovers her accountant has stolen all of her money (big shock) she has to get a job. She ends up working as a nanny even though she has no experience. Which you know career women will entrust their kids with anyone. She is the nanny for a music exec’s child. While also pursuing a romance with a up and coming musician.
The little girl she looks after acts more like an adult then Murphy’s character and is a perfectionist and emotionally stable. Played By Dakota fanning well, but obviously playing up her cuteness. This is where the barrel of laughs are supposed to come in. Seeing a child act like an adult and always serious learning to let go from An adult. While the adult is supposed to be learning to grow up. Oh yeah and the little girls father is comatose who is on a respirator is kept in a room in the apartment, of course this wouldn’t do any psychological damage to a child. Will she learn to be a free spirit or at least loosen up? Who knows who cares
This film is cloying and tries to be cute. While offering up more of a cruel and cynical view. That doesn’t exactly suit each other well.
The guy playing the musician (Jesse Spencer) can’t sing bit can the actor portraying him give a good performance as an actor. He seems only here for his looks.
Heather Locklear even in a small supporting role proves why movie stardom has escaped her clutches over the years. It's hard to her to know what to do without a laugh track or soundtrack to follow each line.
Don’t get me wrong. Brittany Murphy was a talented actress and a gifted comedic actress in particular. She always seemed like an actress who deserved a musical all her own. Unfortunately this film offers her very little to work with and no material or scenes that let her shine. As this film is supposed to be a comedy. Though she is goofy the film suddenly makes her become more dramatic overall.
In this film and her next LITTLE BLACK BOOK the films were supposed to be comedies though at a certain point play more like dramas and she seems to go with that flow. So that while scenes are humorous she plays them with such conviction it doesn’t come off as fun or light as it is supposed to be. Strangely though when she was in a more serious genre movie like SIN CITY. She acted more like she was playing in a comedy. It was really hard to understand her method in these performances. She at times reminds one of actress Mary Louise Parker as they both are the master of the blank stare. That in many films more came off like she seemed high, but actually seems to be in character putting everything together.
This film seemed to be a starter starring film for her even though she had a long resume of supporting and bit roles. After her breakthrough with DON’T SAY A WORD and a supporting role in 8 MILE. As well as co-Starring with Ashton Kutcher in the mild hit movie JUST MARRIED. This film seems built around her and her character and the first time a film rested on her shoulders mainly.
Director Boaz Yakin has talent FRESH was a phenomenal movie. You wrote that movie. Even REMEMBER THE TITANS was good. What happened to all that talent and flair You showed with those films. One could excuse this chum if a movie if it was your first film but you are an experienced director. There is no excuse even if The studio had tampered with it. There is nothing good here.
Claire Danes was originally supposed to star in this but she obviously did something Ms. Murphy did not. She read the script before signing on. Piper Perabo was also considered before Brittany Murphy was cast.
Everything about this film looks and feels artificial. Even though it is filmed in New York at actual locations. The film Manages to also look low budget and cheap. Even though we are told how expensive everything is.
The film just seems stuck in a time warp altogether.