(Comedy: 1 hour , 50 minutes); Starring: Brittany Murphy, Ron Livingston, Holly Hunter, and Kathy Bates; Director: Nick Hurran; Rated: PG-13 (Mature themes and strong language)

Movie Review: Stacy Holt (Murphy) has just been hired as an assistant producer of the "Kippy Kann Do" Show, a Jerry Springer-like talk show that is hosted by Kippy Kann (Bates). Stacy believes this is getting her one step closer to her dream job, to work with ABC's Diane Sawyer. At the request of co-workers, Stacy decides to look into the little black book of her boyfriend, Derek (Livingston). Stacy hopes she can find out matters of Derek's past, more importantly his past dating history. Stacy finds out more than she needs to know when she uses Derek's black book to track down and meet three of Derek's past romantic interests, a self-indulgent doctor, a bulimic model, and a friendly chef (keenly played by actresses Rashida Jones, Josie Mann, and Julianne Nicholson).

The little black book in this case is actually a Palm Pilot. So, why not rename this motion picture, "Little Black Palm Pilot"? Doing so would be too much like doing right ...

An asinine story taken to the extreme, "Little Black Book" has potential, but it is not revealed until near the conclusion too late at that point. As a comedy, this amusing tale fails because Murphy is miscast for the role of Stacy. The supporting actresses, Jones or Nicholson, should be the lead actress. Either would have made the screenplay fantastic. Watching Murphy's peculiar jerky head movements, blinking eyes, and always constant whining style of acting is discombobulating. For a moment, one might think she is doing a bad impersonation of Katherine Hepburn by the way she shakes her head throughout scenes. If this is a comedy, people should laugh at Murphy's performance. Saving the day is the supporting cast, especially Hunter, Bates, Ira Sussman, and a cameo by singer/songwriter Carly Simon, whose songs are heard throughout "Little Black Book." Ron Livingston does little to make himself more recognizable. Some comedic screenplays would be better if they were drama. Other than a few good laughs, a medium-weight plot, and some great supporting actresses, "Little Black Book" offers little else.

Grade: C (Taking a peek is taking a chance.)



Adann-Kennn Alexxandar is a contributing writer to The Valdosta Daily Times. He may be reached by e-mail (kailebeaumec@excite.com).

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