Thursday, March 17, 2005
Note to Brittany Murphy: Eat something
In which V. derides the hell out of Little Black Book, briefly sermonizes about relationship ethics, and observes that Ron Livingston always plays sleazy boyfriends.

So, today I managed to sit through the recent "romantic comedy" Little Black Book, starring Brittany Murphy. I put "romantic comedy" in quotes as this film was neither romantic nor a comedy. I'd say it's somewhere between one of those Greek tragedies where everyone dies and/or rips out their own eyes, and a train wreck. Possibly both.

A word on Brittany Murphy: she was really cute in Clueless. What the crap happened? She looks like she weighs about 60 pounds soaking wet. And we wonder why young girls have problems with body image, look at the role models we give them. But I digress.

Ms. Murphy plays Stacy, who is obsessed with two things: working for Diane Sawyer, and the music of Carly Simon. Whenever life gets Stacy down, she sings along loudly with Carly Simon songs. Um, okay. I guess a lot of people really like Carly Simon, but she's not really my cuppa at all. Neither is Diane Sawyer. So from the start, I am unable to really relate to Stacy... and I have trouble really getting into a film if I can't relate, even in some small way, with the principle female character.

Stacy is dating this guy Derek, played by Ron Livingston. Livingston is perhaps best known for playing Carrie's insecure asshole boyfriend Berger on Sex and the City. He plays virtually an identical guy here. So, they're dating, and just as he's about to go away on business for a couple of weeks, he lets slip that he used to date some supermodel.

This makes Stacy a little insecure. I think it would probably shake up most women. I think, personally, if I found out I had replaced a supermodel as the object of a man's affection, I'd feel pretty good about that. But not Stacy. No. Stacy slides into a downward spiral of self-doubt and destructive behavior.

She has a job working as an assistant producer on a Jerry Springer style chat show. She confides her worries to her best work chum Barb (Holly Hunter, who always plays bitches). Following a warped series of events, Stacy is convinced to go snooping around in Berger's palm pilot (the titular little black book) so as to dig up the dirt on his past relationships.

I won't get into the sordid misadventures that she has with these women; it's really not all that interesting. The interesting thing is that it soon becomes clear that Berger the Asshole Boyfriend is in fact leading a double life. And so the viewer is presented with a moral dilemma: who is wrong? Stacy, for being a snoop? Or Berger, for being dishonest?

I think they're both wrong, but from my perspective, Stacy did the only thing she really could do. She was blissfully ignorant of some serious underlying problems in her own relationship. Berger the Asshole wasn't ever going to be forthcoming with the truth. So while it was wrong for her to pry, it was good that she did. Otherwise, she'd have carried on living a lie.

Brief sermonizing about relationship ethics: I mean, okay. I'm not saying we should have to tell our partners about all of our past relationships. I'm not saying we should have to give our partners a complete play-by-play of everything we do every day. But I am saying, we should be a part of our partners' lives. We have the right to know who their friends are, to meet their friends, to meet their families. Anyone that you hide from your partner is someone you have no business spending time with. If you're good friends with an ex and like to get together for the occasional lunch or movie or whatever, fine... just be up front about it. Geez.

Anyway, everything kind of spirals out of control. Stacy ends up hurting a lot of people. Her so-called friend Barb ends up setting her up and using her and exploiting her life story on national TV. Everything goes all to hell, lives are ruined, relationships destroyed.

And then it's as if the writers just ran out of ideas and didn't know how to end things. They felt obligated to give Stacy a happy ending (because romantic comedies always have happy endings, but this isn't really a romantic comedy...), so at the very end, Stacy gives some sappy voiceover speech about new beginnings and humility. And then she's offered a job as Diane Sawyer's assistant. OMG!! No way!!! And then while she's still reeling from the sheer joy of getting the job of her dreams, in walks Carly Simon!! OMG!!!11 R0X0R!!1111

Carly Simon says something insipid like "Hello, I'm Carly Simon". This results in Stacy fainting, and then coming to and squealing like a lovestruck teenager and hugging Carly Simon. Whee! Now she has everything she ever wanted!

Holy crap, this movie sucked. I was expecting something cute and lighthearted and uplifting, but nooo. Brittany Murphy is colossally irritating, as well. No wonder Ashton dumped her for Demi.