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Little Black Book

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jan
Little Black Book

from Film Forum, 08/12/04

In director Nick Hurran's Little Black Book, Brittany Murphy (Just Married, Uptown Girls) plays a daytime talk-show producer who is frustrated when she can't get her boyfriend Derek (Ron Livingston) to talk about his previous girlfriends. Her suspicions lead her to an invasion of his privacy: she snoops around on his Palm Pilot and makes a list of his acquaintances, making plans to interrogate them. This leads to unexpected developments when she becomes friends with one of the women from Derek's past.

"The scary thing about this movie is that it's targeted at teenage girls," writes Annabelle Robertson (Crosswalk). "Never does the film explore the possibility that premarital sex—in relationship after relationship after relationship—might be what's causing the real conflict for its characters." She admits that "The satire is snappy … in its mockery of talk shows and the crazy atmosphere that they create, both on- and off-camera. Murphy … pulls off the comedic elements quite well." But she concludes, "The acting and humor are not enough to save the film from either the lurching plot or the sleaze that it bemoans."

Tom Neven (Plugged In) says, "Little Black Book poses as a morality tale, but … Hurran apparently couldn't resist redefining morality. At one point in the movie I was somewhat optimistic that viewers could glean a smidgen of a positive lesson when Stacy learns the meaning of comeuppance the hard way. Unfortunately, by then, viewers are fully immersed in the foul stuff … and any positivity is ruined." He also faults "its overarching theme of sex outside of marriage … the foul language, confused morality and winking approval of trashy daytime talk shows."

from Film Forum, 08/19/04

Reviewing Little Black Book, Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) finds "an awkward little story with characters whose personality faults far outweigh their more positive qualities. The central figure is Stacy, but she makes so many bad choices during the course of the film that it is difficult to root for her. Director Nick Hurran and first-time screenwriter Melissa Carter try to force us to connect with their lead character by using the most mundane script device there is: the voice-over narration. It doesn't help."

Mainstream critics are similarly put off.