If you share the odd and peripheral obsession with Brittany Murphy that I do, you’ll be excited to know Little Black Book is on Netflix right now.
This is I guess a romantic comedy (?) but really it’s more like a romantic sleuth/stress film. Brittany Murphy plays Stacy (no last name according to IMDB) and she is in love in 2004 which is a whole different set of problems than you might imagine. Namely, people have palm pilots and answering machines, but people still lie! So that’s reassuring.
Let’s backtrack- Stacy has wanted to work with Diane Sawyer her whole life (Um, Drop Dead Gorgeous should sue but ok) so she gets a job at the Kippie Kann show which is a local (New Jersey) daytime talk show starring Kathy Bates as Kippie Kann, an aging TV star with a few good seasons left (I know I’m describing her like a dying racehorse, but that’s what working in TV is like).
Um also, because it’s the ‘Kippie Kann’ show, they keep trying to be alliterative with it, so all the segments are very “K” heavy, like: “Kippie Kleans Klass With These Kooky Kritters” but it just makes all the Kue Kards look like ads for a hate group. Whoops.
At the job she meets Barb (Holly Hunter) who is getting over a cheating husband and what seems like a lifetime abuse of curlspray. In this movie Holly Hunter looks like if Aeropostale had a seniors line.
Barb quickly shows her the ropes while espousing philosophical dating platitudes like: “Omission is betrayal” and “Women should hack palm pilots because of civil rights.” She didn’t say that last one but the seriousness with which she took herself and the shadiness of the actions she was recommending, it’s a pretty good summation.
She encourages Stacy to use her job to pry into her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s lives under false pretenses. Stacy simply says the show is doing an episode about the thing they do for their job, then interviews them and manages to ask prying person questions about her boyfriend.
The three women she interviews are a model (Josie Maran as Lulu Fritz), a gynecologist (Rashida Jones as Dr. Rachel Keyes) and a chef (Julianna Nicholson as Joyce). She finds out that her boyfriend Derek (Ron Livingston) keeps in touch with a lot of them, and/or lied about other little things he has told her regarding these past relationships.
Also poor Ron Livingston. He seems to have drawn the ‘bad boyfriend role forever’ card. I liked him in that show he was on where he got the newspaper a day in advance and he would try to stop all the bad things from happening? I don’t remember what it was called. Welp I just looked it up and it was called Early Edition and it was starring Kyle Chandler. So now I REALLY feel bad for Ron Livingston because the only thing I liked him in (besides Office Space) wasn’t even really him 😦
So, during all this, the show Stacy works for is gearing up for Sweeps, the biggest show week in daytime TV and they have been planning the episode that will be shot live. We are lead to believe it’s something about plastic surgery nightmares but surprise! It’s ‘Little Black Book’ and it has all the women, Stacy, and her boyfriend as guests. This is a big betrayal for Stacy but she embraces the chaos and goes with it and confronts her boyfriend about why he lied to her and eventually about whether Joyce is better for him, which ultimately she is.
Really, they didn’t do a good job explaining this abrupt 180 in Barb (why this betrayal of her friend?) so right after that twist happened the small emotional investment I had for the movie kind of evaporated. Barb just kept saying, “Yes, turn it on all of us” and weirdly sitting on a desk with her hands clasped.
Then after Stacy walks off set to leave the building, Barb meets her in the hall (luckily the cameras have followed!) and gives this long explanation about why she did it, and how Brittany Murphy might hate her but it helped her get to the truth which is what she wanted, blah, blah. Brittany Murphy listens to the whole thing then just goes,”I should claw your eyes out right now.” Then walks away, which is pretty metal.
There’s also these weird background details about Stacy like that her mom loves Carly Simon. That’s mainly it I guess.
Ultimately it seems to be a lesson in “finding yourself” instead of focusing on “love” because everyone knows when you take care of yourself, that’s when you find love! Smdh. Plenty of people find love because they were getting fingered in a bank parking lot not taking painting classes in Milan, but whatever.
Mostly I wanted to see this movie because I want to know every single thing about Brittany Murphy there is to know, and it was pretty disappointing, but also I’m glad I finally saw it.
2 out of 5 palm pilots. Would never masturbate.