MGM/UA, August 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Molly Gunn (Brittany Murphy), the daughter of a late rock legend, is a sweet but spoiled trust fund princess and party girl. She's filthy rich with a closet full of designer clothes. Molly's invited to all the top celebrity parties and usually has her pick of the most eligible bachelors, until her accountant steals her inheritance and leaves her totally broke. Now Molly is forced to do something she has never had to do before – grow up and go to work.
Her best friends, Ingrid (Marley Shelton), and musical artist scout, Huey (Donald Faison), help Molly get a job as a nanny. Recording executive Roma Schleine's (Heather Locklear) eight year old daughter, Raye (Dakota Fanning), is a control freak who's obsessed with germs. Raye is a self contained child who pretty much runs her own life, ordering the housekeeper, chauffeurs and especially her nannies to suit her while her busy mother ignores her. Raye is a little girl who's lost her childhood and Molly is an adult who's never grown up. They both have a lot to learn, and life has thrown these two needy souls together.
UPTOWN GIRLS was reaching for a certain type of film I don't feel they ever accomplished: a heartwarming story of two unlikely friends. What they produced was a forced, superficial but occasionally charming story. Raye and Molly's epiphany is heartbreakingly sad and Raye's moment of triumph is filled with pathos. I came away from the film feeling let down. Sadly, I think this film missed the audience the producers should have targeted. This would have been an excellent movie for 6 to 12 year olds but it's rated PG-13 for sexual content and language. Individually, Brittany Murphy gave a sparkling performance and Dakota Fanning is amazing as the little adult.
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