Uptown Girls (2003)
Main cast: Brittany Murphy (Molly Gunn), Dakota Fanning (Lorraine "Ray" Schleine), Marley Shelton (Ingrid), Donald Faison (Huey), Jesse Spencer (Neal), Austin Pendleton (Mr McConkey), and Heather Locklear (Roma Schleine)
Director: Boaz Yakin

I can't believe it either, but Brittany Murphy is pretty charming in her role as the spoiled twenty-two year old socialite fallen on hard times in this movie. It is she that makes this movie watchable. Uptown Girls is a tedious movie about yet another rich spoiled girl having to dabble in middle-class work while being decked out in designer trendies, all in the name of Learning What It Means To, Like, You Know, Be Real Or Something.

Life is good for Molly Gunn. Her parents were rock star people that died in a plane crash, but her trust fund allows her to live the high life. She has a thing for Neal, a truly bad British aspiring musician that sounds just like matchbox twenty lead singer Rob Thomas' talentless bastard son. Neal, however, wants to remain sober and concentrate on his music. Please, as if we all need another matchbox twenty. Before Molly can do anything though, the trustee runs off with all her money and she is forced to work as a nanny to Ray, an irritatingly precocious eight-year old that sounds like she's eighty and determined to make everyone's life miserable. As Molly stumbles her way through her new job, she will learn to be strong and independent, yadda yadda yadda.

Ray is a really creepy character. How the movie people expect me to like this hypochondriac and absolutely rude killjoy monster is beyond me. If I am Molly, someone's smartass is going to get kicked from here all the way to Tokyo, because Ray is more irritating than a bunch of Carebears singing karaoke next door to me. Ray is supposed to help Molly grow up or something, but in real life the only thing this creepy monster can teach a person is to slash the wrist along the vein and not across it for maximum effect. Heather Locklear plays the one-note bitch in a sleepwalking manner that makes her Melrose Place stint pure thespian gold in comparison. British TV star Jesse Spencer takes off his shirt pretty often - nice - but this movie operates under the delusions that that boy can sing. (Hint: he can't.) Neal and Molly have as much chemistry as a toothbrush floating in a toilet bowl.

It is Murphy's earnest and enthusiastic portrayal of Molly that makes this movie work, albeit as much as she could do trying to do a one-woman salvage act on this inept movie. When she says that she has grown up and she has learned to respect her self-worth, I can't help but to believe her. She manages to convey enough ditzy charm and strength at the correct times in all the correct scenes to make Molly a likeable character. But that's not enough to salvage this movie.

Rating: 55

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