Brittany Murphy returns for another comedy, this one titled "Little Black Book." Why she continues to do romantic fluff when her best movies have all been darker is beyond me, but at least "Little Black Book" has some, if not a lot, redeeming value.
Murphy stars as Stacy, a young woman who has started a new job as an associate producer of a trashy daytime talk show (hosted by Kathy Bates). When she discovers her boyfriend Derek (Ron Livingston) is hiding something from her, her new friend and fellow producer Barb, played by Holly Hunter, convinces her to tap into Derek's Palm Pilot, modern day's little black book, and proceed to interview his past girlfriends. Though she finds nothing conclusive, her obsession leads her down a path that can only end badly, especially when she befriends one of Derek's ex-girlfriends (Julianne Nicholson). Uh-oh!
Okay, so "Little Black Book" isn't exactly "romantic fluff" as I so eloquently called it in the introductory paragraph, as there really is little in the way of romance. Sadly, Ron Livingston, who many love for his performances in such things as "Office Space" and "Sex and the City," is in the film very little. The story focuses more on Murphy's psychotic investigating into his past than their current relationship. Even though it isn't romantic fluff, it unfortunately features Murphy as yet another annoying character who only becomes likable in the last half hour, after everything gets turned on its head.
Oh, but boy does it get turned on its head! For most of the movie, "Little Black Book" is okay, never bad but never capitalizing on its great cast, either. There are some funny moments, but for the most part Murphy just digs herself deeper and deeper into a hole, completely naive as to where everything is going to end up. The movie is mildly entertaining, but definitely never spellbinding. However, the last half hour is great. Those expecting a cliché ending should look somewhere else. Without giving too much away, let's just say the ending is brutal - not necessarily funny, but harshly more "realistic" than what happens in most romantic comedies. Of course, there's still some mushy stuff, but the ending is much more entertaining than seen in most movies of this genre.
"Little Black Book" has a fun and unique ending, but the rest of the movie is nothing special. It may make for a cheap rental, but underutilizes its good cast.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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