Little Black Book

Rated 2.0 An ambitious TV producer (Brittany Murphy) snoops through her boyfriend’s Palm Pilot to learn about his previous relationships, egged on by co-worker Holly Hunter. Melissa Carter and Elisa Bell’s messy script is weighed down by arch, self-conscious dialogue, and director Nick Hurran rips through it in a mad frenzy, as if hoping we won’t notice that no one really talks like that. Worse, the movie can’t decide whether it’s a romantic comedy, a slapstick farce or a biting satire of reality TV; the elements don’t really mix, and Murphy doesn’t have the comic flair to pull them together (or to make us care for her selfish, unlikable character). The strong cast helps: Stephen Tobolowsky, Kathy Bates and especially Julianne Nicholson (who deserves to be a major star) as one of Murphy’s victims.