Stacy Holt, an associate producer for a daytime talk show, is confounded by her boyfriend Derek's unwillingness to talk about his previous relationships. Egged on by her co-worker Barb, Stacy sneaks a look at his personal digital organizer, scores the names and numbers of his exes, and sets up interviews with them--all in an effort to get closer to her man. Her plan starts to unravel, however, when she becomes friends with one of the women. Written by
...and give me a black eye. Of any and all pieces of media that I have ever seen, heard, touched, tasted and smelled, this is the worst piece to have the word 'black' in the title. There was no book, and it wasn't black. If it was meant to be a 'black comedy', then it fell on its face because it stumbled over a black cat. I shall cease the punspeak and continue my commentary in the accepted normalspeak.
There are some decent aspects to this pile of bunk and those reading this shall be spoiled: (1) Kathy Bates was probably the only ray of sunshine in this hopeless crock. She was sadly underplayed in my mind and she should have stolen this away from the cutesy starlet. (2) I have to say that Holly Hunter is still in top form. She can play a conniving b**** better than anyone that I have seen in quiet some time. While she isn't up there with Sharon Stone, she did prove the point that certain parts of the working world require backstabbing to survive. If an actor can make a philosophical point and make it well, then the performance is well-done I believe. (3) Extending the second reason, the climatic sequence was the best in the film. It came from nowhere in my mind considering certain hints were being dropped (Hunter's going-along with the plan, the Working Girl movie poster, Ira's obsession of the little black book idea). Maybe a more astute viewer could have seen it but I did not. I believe it was carefully plotted, written, acted, and filmed in order to incite a deep emotional reaction from the viewer. Is it just me or did the entire cast and crew read Aristotle before the sequence was shot? I could be missing the point but I am from the school that suggests philosophy is the underpinning of all human understanding. Three reasons give a score of three.
Now for the negativity: (1) Brittany Murphy blows like an untied balloon. She blows like the bitter cold winds that sweep across the high plains of North Dakota in the dead of winter. She can't act and she hasn't acted well in anything (except for Just Married, that was funny). I think this role could have been better for someone like Scarlett Johannsen. If she dyed her red locks blonde and chopped it short, she could pass as a Diane Sawyer wannabe. (2) What has happened to Ron Livingston? He is truly a no-hit wonder as far as I can tell. His best performance was in Office Space but that was a defeaningly silent failure at the box office. He had no heart in this movie despite whatever extending circumstances might have caused not to have it. (3) Carly Simon was used and abused in this movie. Maybe it was a mutual you-save-my-relevance-to-history-while-I-can-fill-up-my-bank-account-kind-of-agreement. Plainly, I believe the greatest chanteuse of the 1970's is trying to extend her relevance span much like Styx did with Adam Sandler in 1999's Big Daddy. It's pure exploitation for the sake of keeping the cash cow happy. (4) I hated the premise of this movie from the outset. Why can't the heads behind this film realize that the biggest questions cannot be answered? The question is, should past secrets stay buried or be revealed? The answer is BOTH, end of story! It depends on every relationship and every circumstance involving those relationships. She should have let the situation alone despite everything else involved and the world would have been at ease. That is why I hate doubt; when you are at ease, everything is right with the world. (5) I leave the psychobabble for more common sense themes. I hated how the character of Joyce got screwed because she was the one we were meant to root for. In fact, the other two women (the self-absorbed doctor and the shallow, vane model) didn't deserve the screwing either. While the situation was complex from the outset, they didn't deserve any of the attention. If you are outside the situation regardless of your flaws, then you don't deserve to be sucked in and then burned at the stake. The characters Murphy and Hunter played both deserved to be burned at the stake. (6) This movie attempted black comedy and failed miserably. It tried to express some opinions on the insatiable American appetite of reality TV and the cruelty of the world of television. I would think films like Network and Broadcast News (even Ringmaster with Jerry Springer) would profess those opinions in better ways. If this movie had marketed itself as that and the heads behind this film went more the jugular, this movie would been much better. I think if James L. Brooks had at least directed this movie and cast somebody like Holly Hunter or Scarlet Johannsen in the main role, then we might have something to talk about. (7) The ending was a farce so nothing more needs to be voiced.
Overall, this movie bites and I felt cheated for the most part. I did laugh in a few places but it just made me cringe over and over again. Somebody treated me out, so I waited until the end of the horror to make my opinions known to the world. When it's free, who says you can complain? If anyone out there has a little black book, burn it now so your significant other can never find it. If you are in a relationship that is more worthy than anything you had prior, why hold on to the past? It's the kind of stuff that makes Hollywood rob us of our hard-earned money.
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