..

UPTOWN GIRLS

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Marley Shelton, Donald Faison, and Heather Locklear
Director: Boaz Yakin
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Surround
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Format
Studio: MGM
Features: See Review
Length: 92 Minutes
Release Date: January 6, 2003

“You got your germy saliva all over my plastic scones!”

Film **

Uptown Girl, she’s been living in her uptown world…from the moment I received this DVD to review I have had that song stuck in my head.  The only consolation is that I love Billy Joel, and I love that song.   Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the movie that inspired the repeating song loop in my head!

Molly Gunn is a rock and roll princess whose accountant just made a run for the border with her trust fund.  She’s out of luck and out of time, with only a pig to call her own.

Nine year-old Ray is a hypochondriac with more issues than Freud and Doctor Phil combined could handle.  She has succeeded in running off another nanny, and her too busy to be bothered with a daughter mom played by Heather Locklear, thinks Molly would be the perfect person to take care of Ray.

These two Uptown Girls are about as compatible as oil and water, but hey, movies like this are supposed to take on the impossible and make it work.  Unfortunately, weak scripting and predictability, as well as a lack of enthusiasm from individual actors on screen kept this film downtown.

Uptown Girls marks Brittany Murphy’s third trek onto the big screen for 2003.  While co-starring along side That 70’s Show’s Ashton Kutcher in Just Married showed off her comedic abilities, her drug induced spin in Spun, starring John Leguizamo, tested her true abilities as an actress.  This movie doesn’t do a lot to help Murphy’s career, but she does get more face time on the big screen, and that’s how the game is played, so you go, girl!

Uptown Girls will never be a historic comedy, and it is definitely not a deep thinking movie, however it does have a charm all its own thanks to the tremendous acting talent of Miss Dakota Fanning.  This kid is truly an amazing talent, and she has proven her abilities at every turn. 

Her movie credits are already starting to stack up beginning with I Am Sam in 2001, followed by Trapped in 2002.  If that doesn’t ring a bell, then her recent debut on cable television as the hybrid alien child everybody was after in Stephen Spielberg’s Taken might jog your memory. 

Miss Fanning has a depth most seasoned actors and actresses strive for all their lives and never achieve.  Listening to Uptown Girls director Boaz Yakin talk about Dakota just helps to emphasize what a career this little girl has before her if she stays on track.

The acting was okay, but they definitely could have benefited from a better script, and a director with a little less focus on modern symbolism. 

This is the genre of movie I typically just fall in love with.  While I didn’t love this movie, I didn’t completely hate it either.  If you’ve got some free time, and need something to fill it, grab this disc and give it a spin.

Video ***

MGM did a bang up job with this DVD’s look and feel.   The colors popped when they needed too and were sufficiently muted where necessary.    The dirt and grain visible was minimal and didn’t detract from the quality of this DVD in the least.  You will be visually pleased by this DVD’s look from start to finish.   

Audio ***

The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround on this DVD was excellent.  The balance between speakers created a harmonious blend of music bed and dialogue that flowed easily from one scene to the next.  The mix was constant throughout with no audible dropouts.

The soundtrack for this DVD was really cool.  New music with an older feel to it worked to this DVD’s advantage.

Features ***

It appears these Uptown Girls have packed their entire extras wardrobe into this DVD. 

For starters, “The Lowdown on Uptown,” featurette is full of interesting movie information, and cast interviews.  Brittany Murphy is very candid, as is Dakota Fanning, about the fun they had filming this movie.

“Rockin Style” is an inside look at the fashion these Uptown Girls sported. 

A video stills gallery set to music is fun to watch.  You get to go behind the scenes in a way that allows you to decide what was going on with the cast and crew.

There are some deleted scenes for you to flip through as well as a music video for the song, “Time,” by Chantal Kreviazuck.

A television spot for the Uptown Girls soundtrack is included, along with the standard, “MGM Means Great Movies Trailer,” and the, “MGM Contemporary Romance Trailer,” highlighting those titles that stand out from years past.

Interactive DVD cases contain movie trailers for A Guy Thing, Heartbreakers and Legally Blonde 2.

Once you’ve clicked through those trailers you can page over and view movie box covers for, The Princess Bride, The Cutting Edge, Mermaids, and Agent Cody Banks.  There are unfortunately no links to trailers for these movies, but it lets you know that MGM are the people to see for great movies.

Language options in French and Spanish are available if you are fluent in either of those, and if you want to make sure you catch every single word, you can turn on the English, French, or Spanish Subtitles.

Summary:

The DVD may be lacking in the story and scripting department, but it more than makes up for that with lots of extra features, as well as great audio and video quality.  Having said all that, I would still suggest picking this Uptown Girl up as a rental before spending your hard earned money on her.