Uptown Girls, a movie about a polar opposite nanny
and child duo from the upper east side of New York City, has
its ups and downs. And like most girlie, big studio movies,
the film eventually finds its way to a predictable, saccharine-sweet
Brittany Murphy plays Molly Gunn, the daughter of
a dead rock star, who lives like a princess and acts like
one too. She whims her way through life by way of inheritance
and always fancies what she can’t have—which is pretty much
limited to a certain up and coming British musician who doesn’t
have time for silly romance.
But after all of Molly’s money is stolen, she must learn
to earn her keep in the city that never sleeps. Paying bills
being a foreign concept, she manages to land a job as a nanny
after some jostling trials and tribulations in other career
Enter Ray (Fanning), the precocious, indignant eight-year-old
in the movie, who acts like an adult and lives like one too.
She’s cold, wicked, and forgotten by her parents. All those
characteristics add up to her being the proverbial child ignored.
Molly’s exuberance and extravagance is too much for
the calm and collected Ray at first, but the child’s hard
exterior is slowly whittled away by humor, until the two lonely
girls become confidantes, then friends.
On screen, Murphy and Fanning have an ill-balanced chemistry.
Fanning comes out on top of the charisma heap, her one-liners
and idiosyncratic mannerisms being indisputably the major
laughs and enjoyment of the film. Murphy is awkward at times
as the comedic lead, and fumbles slightly on timing. However,
for the major dramatic climaxes of the film she throws her
acting chops into full force. Drama is definitely Murphy’s
Dakota Fanning reminds me of the young girl in Beaches
who played Nina and won our hearts with her defiant nature
toward Bette Midler’s Cici Bloom. Fanning has that
same presence on the big screen that seems to be innate, a
child born to be a memorable character. Her furrowed brows
and her smile are impossible to ignore. Whatever is demanded
at any given moment, Ms. Fanning gives her all.
I can’t tell you what happened to that girl in Beaches,
but I hope Dakota Fanning will be around in the years to come.
Regardless of whether the mediocre Uptown Girls is
a chick flick hit, Fanning is definitely worth keeping your
—Sandra M. Ogle