Producers: Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Deborah
Schindler, William Sherak, Jason Shuman
Written by: Melissa Carter, Elisa Bell
Cast: Brittany Murphy, Holly Hunter, Ron
Livingston, Kathy Bates, Julianne Nicholson, Kevin Sussman
When I took my seat at the movie theater, my hands were sweating,
my nerves were groaning, and a distinct sense of nausea was beginning
to paw at my stomach. “Jesus,” I thought,
“not another chick flick.” Thankfully, though, Little
Black Book isn’t just another chick flick. I mean, yeah,
it opens with the requisite introductory voiceover, stars cute-as-a-button
Brittany Murphy, and starts off with the most basic
of humor ploys, but after a slightly bumpy beginning, the storyline
and character development take off beautifully.
Murphy in this movie plays Stacey Holt, a sweetly ambitious (yeah,
I know, but it’s Brittany) journalism major whose goal to
one day work with Diane Sawyer finds her toiling
away in low-level positions at low-level stations. Things finally
seem to look up for her when she lands an associate producer gig
on one of the top daytime talk shows in the country (a truly frightening
Jerry Springer-esque affair starring Kathy
Bates). Stacey buddies up with fellow AP’s Barb (Hunter)
and Ira (Sussman), and finally begins to feel like
she’s making headway in the industry (despite the rambunctious
midgets and prostitute grandmas) when her life is irrevocably turned
upside-down by one of the show’s guests. While watching Kippie
Kann (Bates) sympathetically nod her head at beautiful-but-bulimic
supermodel Lulu, Stacey’s boyfriend Derek (Livingston)
absentmindedly mentions that he used to date her. When Stacey questions
him further on the matter, though, he retreats into an “I
don’t want to talk about it” shell, citing his discomfort
with talking about past relationships as the reason.
Hmm, what to do, what to do? Let the matter lie, festering, underneath
a façade of calm, or dig it up ruthlessly once the man’s
back is turned and find out what else he’s been hiding? I
believe every insecure and shamelessly jealous person is behind
me when I say SNOOP! Using her powers of interview as an associate
producer—as well as the Palm Pilot Derek so thoughtfully left
behind—Stacey methodically questions and examines each of
her boyfriend’s exes, including his first love Joyce (Nicholson).
And, might I add, rightfully so. Each interview reveals the most
interesting facts about Derek’s life and current activities.
Anyone who’s every snuck a glance at his or her significant
other’s phone or email or secret shoebox wedged underneath
the bed will know, though, such less-than-moral detective work can
only end in disaster. Stacey’s particular disaster, however,
is as startling to her as it is to the audience.
I’m sure this summary sounds pretty Velveeta-y, but what
I appreciated most about this movie is that it wasn’t cheesy.
The story pivots on the dilemma of human insecurity—an issue
easy to connect with—and the acting follows likewise. Some
of the dialogue seemed so real, I felt like the actors were actually
ad-libbing. No character is wholly good or completely bad, just
human. Although there were definitely some shrink-wrapped Hollywood
moments (recurring themes, stereotypical moments, comic misunderstandings),
you nevertheless understand that the movie’s intentions are
genuine. The ending, for example, is wholly unlike a typical warm-and-fuzzy
chick flick resolution. I remember thinking “Kudos, man, kudos.”
And that’s what I give Little Black Book as a whole,
really—one major kudos.
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
Itís worth a full-price ticket.
Itís worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...