Little Black Book

While infinitely better than the Jerry Springer flick RINGMASTER (1998), this mixture of sleazy daytime talk shows and lighthearted romantic comedy makes for a muddled mess with few bright spots. Stacy Holt (Brittany Murphy) always dreamed of one day working alongside her idol, news personality Diane Sawyer, but once out in the world, Stacy had little more...read more

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Reviewed by Angel Cohn
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While infinitely better than the Jerry Springer flick RINGMASTER (1998), this mixture of sleazy daytime talk shows and lighthearted romantic comedy makes for a muddled mess with few bright spots. Stacy Holt (Brittany Murphy) always dreamed of one day working alongside her idol, news personality Diane Sawyer, but once out in the world, Stacy had little more to guide her than the advice of her mother (Sharon Lawrence), a woman who dispenses snippets of fortune-cookie wisdom like "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity" and who thinks that the answers to life's problems lie in the songs of Carly Simon. After a few years working a dead-end job at a small New Jersey TV station, the ambitious Stacy lands a gig as an associate producer of the daytime chatfest "Kippie Kann Do!!" Stacy is willing to overlook the fact that hostess Kippie Kann (Kathy Bates) is an obsessive control freak, and that the show exploits little people, grandmothers who moonlight as hookers and disturbingly dysfunctional relationships; in Stacy's mind, the job brings her one step closer to working with Sawyer. Stacy's personal life seems to be moving along swimmingly as well — she's happily living with adorable hockey-obsessed boyfriend Derek (Ron Livingston) and his mangy mutt, Bob — until the day Stacy discovers that Derek has been keeping secrets about his former girlfriends. With a little persuasion from her coworker, Barb (Holly Hunter), Stacy snags Derek's Palm Pilot — the 21st-century's version of the little black book — and starts poking around to find out why he broke up with other girls in the past. Her investigative reporting leads her into a web of lies and bizarre encounters with three of Derek's exes: supermodel Lulu (Josie Maran), doctor Rachel (Rashida Jones) and perky chef Joyce (Julianne Nicholson). Despite a couple of mildly intriguing twists, director Nick Hurran strings together a few interesting ideas &#151 backstabbing friends, trashy talk shows, paranoid relationships &#151 and tacks on a pretty predictable conclusion. Aside from her character's odd penchant for jumping on people when she's excited and a complete lack of chemistry with the cardboard cutout Derek, Murphy is fine. Stacy, however, is a contradiction throughout: She's supposedly smart but does moronic things — like not confirming what kind of doctor Rachel is before making an appointment (she's a gynecologist, not a podiatrist) — and she makes determined decisions while letting everyone manipulate her. It seems Mom doesn't always know best: Even the inclusion of Simon's classic songs isn't enough to solve all the problems of this comedic misfire.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: While infinitely better than the Jerry Springer flick RINGMASTER (1998), this mixture of sleazy daytime talk shows and lighthearted romantic comedy makes for a muddled mess with few bright spots. Stacy Holt (Brittany Murphy) always dreamed of one day worki… (more)

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