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.)

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