Keith Michaels once had it all; recognition and money from an award-winning screenplay and an attractive wife to share it with. However, now he's nearing middle-age and he no longer seems to have any of it. Sure, his famed movie is still a hit, but he's struggling to find any more work and now that he's sadly divorced, the only support he has is from his agent. Desperate to make ends meet, the agent offers him last resort; there's a teaching post vacancy at a small town university in Binghamton, available to teachers in screenwriting. With a Golden Globe hit under his belt, he's a sure-fire candidate for the job - but it's the last thing he wants to do. However, he soon finds the silver lining in that a string of attractive young students have applied to enrol on his course and he uses the opportunity to revel amongst young women, while doing as little work as possible. When he meets mature student Holly though, he's inspired to turn his spiralling life back around.
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On its surface, "Little Black Book" looks like an tritely pedestrian, gimmick-driven chick flick about an emotionally mixed-up career gal who gets more than she bargained for when she rifles through her boyfriend's Palm Pilot looking up old girlfriends.
So imagine my surprise at being thoroughly entertained by this weightless but canny comedy blessed with characters whose personalities aren't dependant upon plot devices, with snappy, spontaneous dialogue (even witty internal-monologue narration), with a story that flows organically, and with a very human heroine who (gasp!) isn't always likable.
Brittany Murphy plays a sweetly self-conscious aspiring TV journalist -- trapped in an associate producer job at a trashy TV talk show -- who is goaded into nagging doubts about her adoring boyfriend by tittle-tattling coworkers (especially the charismatically tart Holly Hunter) who have been warped into habitual scandal-mongers by years of wrangling prostitute grandmothers and midget Ku Klux Klansmen for a living. (Kathy Bates has a ball as the show's shameless, tyrannical host.)
Continue reading: Little Black Book Review
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