You expect a comedy to leave the cinema with a smile, but that is not the case with ‘Uptown Girls’. The jokes are not funny and the drama is too overpowering. The main line of the film is moving and the end of the film is very moving, but it is a pity that the film is so predictable: you know exactly what the next step will be. The characters are not well developed and the film seems to be about too many subjects. There is a love story in it, which you as a viewer cannot really get a grip on. It’s about losing your parents at a young age and how you deal with it. Or is it mainly about Ray’s lesson to Molly?
Even though the film is not a gem, the acting is quite entertaining and sometimes endearing. Ten-year-old Dakota Fanning is very good as the blemish-feared, over-grown little girl. The scenes in which she is bossy against the seventeen year older, but very childlike Murphy are very funny. For the rest, there is not much to laugh about in this comedy. With Fanning, Hollywood seems to have a new child star. At the age of seven she already played Sean Penn’s daughter in the movie ‘I Am Sam’ (2001). A year later she was the young version of Reese Witherspoon in ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ (2002). Then in ‘The Cat in the Hat’ (2003) with Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin and Kelly Preston.
Even though actress Brittany Murphy has stood next to some great actors, she doesn’t really break through to the big movies. Murphy’s first film role was her performance in the teen film ‘Clueless’ (1990), in which she played alongside Alicia Silverstone. In 1999 she appeared alongside Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie in ‘Girl, Interrupted’. Murphy plays nice as the spoiled prince in ‘Uptown Girls’, but she is not very convincing. She acts like a child and has to be rapped on her fingers by ten-year-old Ray. When they get to know each other a bit better, the roles are slowly reversed, but as a viewer you don’t really grow with the characters to their actual age.
Donald Faison is a friend of Murphy’s in ‘Uptown Girls’, the two previously played together in ‘Clueless’. Heather Locklear plays Ray’s mother. Her character and performance are not very credible. She repents very quickly and everything is cake and egg again. Australian Jesse Spencer is trying to get a foothold in Hollywood, but his poorly worked out role in ‘Uptown Girls’ is nothing to write home about.
Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning are quite entertaining and the story is quite touching, but ‘Uptown Girls’ shouldn’t have been a cinema film, straight to the video store would have been good too.