Brittany Murphy has been fairly consistent over the last five years, but never with much success. Though few of her movies can be regarded as terrible (Cherry Falls, Summer Catch), few can be considered very good, either. The surprise hit Just Married was surprisingly decent, and Don't Say a Word was entertaining enough. Unfortunately, Uptown Girls can add itself to the former list - it just ain't that good.
Uptown Girls, originally titled Molly Gunn after the title character, can be summed up with that simple sentence: "it just ain't that good." Though not the worse thing to grace the screen, it has very little going for it, unless one counts an extremely loopy performance from Murphy and yet another story about a little girl wise beyond her years that teaches a spoiled bitch how to be a better person. It's been done before, and it's been done again, but that's no excuse for Uptown Girls. Specifically, the story revolves around Molly (Murphy), the daughter of a famed rocker who passed away a few years ago. Unfortunately for her, she has vaporized what is left of her fortune and loses everything. Once a socialite, she is now forced to take the job of a nanny for an intelligent little girl (Dakota Fanning, who has quietly become the most sought-after 10-year old in the industry, with such big films as The Cat in the Hat, I Am Sam and the upcoming Man on Fire on her resume), but things are not easy. Together, they find a compromise that is better for both of them.
Boring! More than anything, Uptown Girls is dreadfully boring. It tries to be funny, but fails. It tries to be sentimental, but fails. It tries to be quirky, but fails. Uptown Girls is just a poorly assembled film that has little going for it (I think I already said that, but it is hard not to repeat myself in a case like this). The movie does have a few redeeming moments, but nothing that makes this movie worthwhile. Half the time, I could hardly keep focused on the movie; I read the back of a cereal box a few times.
Worst of all is Murphy's performance. While she is generally effective, she is anything but here. Her character is just so damned annoying; Molly is stupid, crazy and whiny. There are several scenes where Murphy is jumping around and making noise for no apparent reason. I felt sorry for Dakota Fanning's character.
Of course, I will feel sorry for anyone who is forced to sit through this boring piece of junk. On the other hand, if someone chooses to watch this, they've been warned.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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