A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Starring: Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Heather Locklear
Directed By:Boaz Yakin
“It’s a Harsh World” are the words that comes out of young Dakota Fanning’s mouth as she flips down her sunglasses in Uptown Girls. And boy is she right. The world is harsh. Everywhere you turn there is poverty and people barely being able to survive on the streets, families torn apart and emotional pitfalls in the hearts of some of the world’s most kind and gentle human beings. Yes Dakota it is a Harsh world and even harsher are the critics who watched your latest film, Uptown Girls.
We all remember young Dakota Fanning from “I am Sam” last year with Sean Penn. She was that adorable young girl that mentally handicapped Sam fought the court system to raise on his own. A year later she is playing a spoiled little hypochondriac who’s father is in a comatose state, and her mother (played by Heather Locklear-(“There is a god, and Heather be thy name!” – for all you Wayne’s World Fans)) who might as well be in one as well. Her mother finds her daughters troubles too much of a pain to meddle with, and simply shrugs her off to a series of Nannies, each one of them having their fill of the spoiled little brat after only a few weeks.
Now enter Molly (Brittany Murphy), the little princess who had it all, because her famous rock star parents left her everything she ever needed after their death. All Grown up now, Molly has never had to work in her entire life and doesn’t have any responsibility. But when the family money caretaker embezzles her fortunes, Molly is left broke, penniless and forced to find…Oh my god! – A JOB! With the lack of funds to be able to carry on her lifestyle Molly moves in with friends and begins babysitting our young Hypochondriac brat. Both of them instantly hate each other, then begin to understand each other, and finally both learn from each other. Isn’t that cute?
If you thought the above scenario was cute, well maybe you are right. I have been told by the female audience that this is just sooooooo cute and worth a B-. But in reality if you hear me out, I think my reasons for not liking this film are justifiable.
We are supposed to feel pity for our two characters. We are actually supposed to pity Molly because she hasn’t had to work for a living, has no responsibility and no direction in her life. As she shoves away her friend who tries to help her, we are supposed to view those who help her as being selfish and “cruel” to her. And as she does a series of irresponsible things we are supposed to find humor in it, and say why doesn’t that 8 year old girl Molly is babysitting for want to act like a pre-school princess again. And then there is Dakota Fanning’s character, Ray. Ray is a spoiled brat. It’s hard to see beyond that. It her spoiled natures because her father is dying in the room next door while neither she nor her mother show any emotion? Is it because she gets whatever she wants except for the love and attention that she needs? Or is it simply because she is a bitter bitter little girl? It’s hard to find a shred of emotion for Ray because she is the way she is. She drives people away from her, why should we as an audience find pity for someone who doesn’t really deserve it?
Our characters are so fluffy and ridiculous it is hard to really delve into a plot. We know the outcome from the get go, everyone goes home happy, and Brittany Murphy learns that her former princess lifestyle means nothing if she can’t stand on her own two feet, and young Ray learns that life is nothing without friends. It’s so sweet and adorable but the sudden change of heart comes so quickly I want to barf. No one has that fast of an attitude change! No one! Not even in the movies. And for us to think by the end that suddenly Brittany Murphy’s slew of mistakes will suddenly make her a better person, I find it hard to believe and even harder to enjoy.
For an end of the summer movie that is supposed to be a comedy, I found very few laughs and only a few snickers here and there. It was more or less a 90-minute pityfest for characters that really didn’t deserve my pity at all. It’s a harsh world out there no doubt, but the oh so horrid events that I saw happen to these two little girls was no more of a problem than a Hollywood celebrity whining over how big their personal trailer is, or how their makeup is not the perfect shade of purple. In the end all I can say is don’t donate your money to this film, but instead donate it to a worthwhile cause like feeding the hungry or curing cancer, heck maybe even buy your pet dog a new treat! Just do anything and I mean anything with that money except watch two spoiled characters learn a magical lesson from each other that in the end really isn’t that magical at all.