Little black hearts

Rated 1.0

In Little Black Book, men catalogue their conquests like their record collections, and women are insecure, meddling creatures who never completely trust their male partners. If this sounds like good times, this is your summer feel-good film. But if you think men and women are more complex than this stereotype, this movie is as depressing as any released all year.

Brittany Murphy is Stacy Holt. an aspiring television journalist working for a reality television show helmed by Kippie Kann (Kathy Bates). Stacy’s hero is Diane Sawyer, and she likes to sing Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better” on or near the toilet. She is quirky and hyper, which is meant to endear the audience to her screwball ways.

The film rightly should have been titled Palm Pilot, because that’s what Stacy’s boyfriend Derek (Office Space‘s Ron Livingston), a scout for a National Hockey League team, uses to keep track of his many ex-girlfriends. When Stacy gets a peek into this little black e-book, she finds numerous photos of former lovers, all of whom are talented and successful doctors, models and chefs who also happen to be devastatingly beautiful.

Oops. Stacy starts to wonder just how committed Derek is. To find out, she uses the tools and techniques of reality TV to invade these women’s’ lives and, in the case of Joyce, actually form a friendship. But for the most part the cast (including Holly Hunter as a duplicitous producer for Kippie Kann) does little with this unwieldy and hackneyed material. Only Julianne Nicholson, as Joyce, actually makes the audience care for her character in this landscape of the insipid and contrived.