One of those “feel good” movies, this 2003 dramedy is not what I expected at all. We follow Brittany Murphy’s Molly Gunn, a reckless party girl who lives a high life without responsibility. She is soon given a reality check when her former business manager steals all of her money leaving her with, virtually, nothing but her clothes, and a collection of expensive guitars that represents the only thing she has left of her parents. This means she needs a job.
FILM REVIEW | ‘Mean Girls’ is the Super Quotable but Silly Comedy
One finds her in the form of Loraine ‘Ray’ Schleine (Dakota Johnson). Precocious and seemingly older than her ten years, Ray is a little girl often left to her own devices while her high-powered executive mother (Heather Locklear) ignores her; and her father lies in a coma. This means Ray is in need of a nanny. Only trouble is, Molly is less adult than Ray, and where there’s also a guy involved, Molly’s life becomes a whole new kind of complicated.
Uptown Girls (2003) Film Review
This is one of those movies that seemed like one I’d really like, especially given my thoughts on similar plots. But, really, I must confess, I don’t immediately like Uptown Girls, and while there’s good, there’s also too many “meh” feelings. To start, I have decided I’m not really a fan of Murphy’s acting. Not sure why, but something about her doesn’t suit the characters she plays. In this, Molly is a mess, but part of her character arc should be one of growth and learning. Ultimately, this is the conclusion we’re asked to believe, but I don’t believe she does change and grow that much. Part of this, I feel, is because of Murphy’s acting. That said, it’s fun to see a young Dakota Fanning (arguably one of the up-and-comers in today’s Hollywood) in one of her early roles!
Despite my so-so reaction, there are some really sweet scenes in this film. Primarily these happen between Molly and Ray. Ray is the more logical (and really, only) force in Molly’s life, and Molly, in turn is able to show Ray what it’s like to enjoy a day (or two) of being carefree. The script and filming goes a little “off” sometimes, but mostly their moments are cute, and “good” for the betterment of the film. There’s a really sweet and swoony end, but the path to it makes it more difficult to champion. In the end, I prefer something like The Nanny Diaries if you want something with a similar concept, but Uptown Girls will appeal to many viewers.
(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)
Content: There are scenes in a club with drinking and suggestive dancing. There’s some innuendo and suggestion of nudity (the camera doesn’t show this). Two people (who don’t know each other) end up spending days together in an apartment; we see them tangled in sheets and trading suggestive comments. A one-night stand is implied. The film is PG-13.