Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Uptown Girls

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language

Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens and Adults
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
2003
Copyright, MGM
Copyright, MGM
Copyright, MGM
Copyright, MGM
Copyright, MGM
Copyright, MGM

Starring: Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Heather Locklear, Jesse Spencer, Donald Faison | Directed by: Boaz Yakin | Produced by: Allison Jacobs, John Penotti, Fisher Stevens | Written by: Julia Dahl, Lisa Davidowitz, Mo Ogrodnik, Allison Jacobs | Distributor: MGM

Oscar and Felix? Perhaps, but make them both female, change Oscar’s age to 22 and Felix’s to 8 and you’d be getting closer. And although Molly Gunn (Brittany Murphy—“8 Mile”, “Riding In Cars With Boys”, “Clueless”) and Rae Schleine (Dakota Fanning—“Sweet Home Alabama”, “I Am Sam”) don’t exist entirely as roommates, these two clearly exist and clash as a humorous and touching odd couple.

Molly is the daughter of former legendary rock star “Tommy Gun” who was killed, along with his wife—Molly’s mother—in a plane crash, and now lives off her inheritance. Apart from this tragedy, she has everything else a girl could want and lives an extravagant and loose lifestyle in New York City. Initially surrounded by wealth, flowers, friends who lover her and a surprise party for her 22nd birthday, Molly’s life soon plummets in a downward spiral.

After losing her inheritance, her apartment, and several subsequent jobs, Molly’s faithful friend, Huey (Donald Adeoson Faison—“Big Fat Liar,” “Remember the Titans”) provides her with a job as a nanny. Eight year-old Rae Schleine is the daughter of record producer Roma Schleine (Heather Locklear) and Rae is everything Molly is not: responsible, independent, mature, levelheaded and grown-up. Ironically, Rae is only 8 years old. Roma Schleine, Rae’s mother, is so consumed with her work that she has no time for her daughter, meanwhile Rae goes through nanny after nanny because no one can cope with her. This all changes when the wild-living “hippie,” Molly, enters Rae’s life as her new nanny.

Humorous throughout is the juxtaposition of these two characters’ lifestyles. Molly has pursued an irrational lifestyle in response to the loss of her parents, while Rae has been forced to be independent and has thus assumed a complete adult attitude. After grating on each other, these two find common ground and each affects the other in a turn for the better. The touching twists that unfold cause both to arrive at a better, more complete life, while in the process developing a heartening friendship.

Granted Molly has a positive influence on Rae, the free-spirited lifestyle she has led is not entirely respectable. Fortunately, the immoral choices she makes (sleeping with her boyfriend, drinking, etc.) do not directly affect Rae. What does affect Rae is the childlike spirit of the 22 year-old Molly. Paradoxically, Molly affects 8 year-old Rae, who acts like she is 28, in a way that helps her revive her childhood. On the flip side of this coin, Rae affects Molly and it leads her to become more responsible and mature.

Molly is clearly the main character and the one who does the most influencing between the two main characters. Although each helps to redeem the other from their inadequacies, Molly’s help for Rae is the most dominant. For this reason, although both experience change, it seems Molly is the one doing the redeeming and Rae is the one receiving redemption.

Overall, there wasn’t really any swearing, save for a few minor moments. An aspect that would concern viewers is the obtrusive sexuality of Molly and her frequent scant clothing. There is no nudity or sex scenes, but it is clearly implied that Molly sleeps with her boyfriend. Aside from these things, the movie has a very heart-warming touch and a clear message on the importance of family, learning from each other, and loving people.

Violence: None | Profanity: Minor | Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Movie Critics
…a perky comedy aimed at young women that gets the job done with crisp efficiency…
—Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter
…Molly Gunn is a comic original, vulnerable and helpless, well-meaning and inept, innocent and guileless—or, more accurately, a person of touchingly naive guile. Murphy’s performance has a kind of ineffable mischievous innocence about it. …enjoyed the movie’s emotional complexity
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…remarkable for its monumental ineptitude… an irksome and depressing tale that takes just under two excruciating hours to tell…
—Andrea Chase, Killer Movie Reviews
…waste of celluliod. …This movie is terrible. …a poor excuse for a story…
—Randy, dvdfuture.com
…Brittany Murphy plays a selfish, too-dumb-to-be-real character, and I don’t remember laughing one time… seriously, not once!…
—Holly McClure, Crosswalk
…has only moments of slapstick silliness thrown into a story of dysfunction caused by parental neglect…
—Kerry Bennett, Kids-In-Mind
…bad morals, primarily sexuality and bad language…
—Alan Boyer, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…unhealthy ideas of sexuality and romance… drama is overwrought …manipulative… disappointing…
—Bob Smithouser, Plugged In!, Focus on the Family
…A scant 15 minutes into “Uptown Girls”, you realize the problem. …no two people like this have ever existed in modern civilization…
—Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—“…suggestive sexual display (women with women dancing), profanity, and eight year old Ray flipping people off more than once… We are all looking for purpose and wanting to fit in. I think that was supposed to be the underlying moral here. However, inserting the profane language and suggestive sexual overtones diminished it. It could have been so much more, but instead, left me without a feeling of sudden insight.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3]
—Rosemarie Ute Hoffman, age 38
Positive—I would just like to say that I really enjoyed this movie. It had a good plot and a great ending. Sure, the girl was extremely spoiled and no common sense, but in the end she found herself and realized that she was really a creative person. I loved the ending because she became best friends with the little girl and still got to keep the guy she was in love with. I thought it was the perfect chick flick and I would recommend it to any teenage girls who just want to spend some quality time with their friends and have a good tear fest.
My Ratings: [Average / 5]
—Amanda, age 16
Neutral—Well, even though through out the movie Britnay Murphay has a little cleavage, and there is a video that sounds really bad (as in boring) and might seem bad morally and there is bad langauge. But surely It does have a lesson of love. It teaches us to not be afraid to love others and not to be scared to just have fun and be happy. I’m not sure if I would say its good for everyone or that its acceptable but it does have a strong message in love which makes it appealing to me.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Matt McFarland, age n/a
Positive—An interesting “chick flick” about Growing up and facing ones fears and how love can cast out fear. Britany helps the precocious child ray played by Dakota Fanning learns how to be a child and have fun and enjoy life. Dakota is a wonderful little actor—I also loved her in I am SAM.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Dolores E. Littleton, age 48
Negative—I thought that this movie was very slow-moving, and did not have a very strong plot. It was also filled with sexual undertones, and God’s name is taken in vain a lot. “Uptown Girls” is definitely not the best choice of movies to take your family see; I can’t recommend, esp. from a Christian perspective.
My Ratings: [Somewhat Offensive / 2]
—Hannah A, age 15
Positive—Although there are implied sexual relationships between the main character Molly and her Boyfriend. The content of this movie is very very good. Some have complained of woman dancing with woman—but I did not see this seen as sexual in nature as some may have implied. I’ve been to many a dance both christian and non christian where females are dancing together. I think that this movie would be fine for 16 years and above. I did find it concerning that when we attended the movie that the crowd was mostly 13 to 16 and very few parents.
My Ratings: [Good / 3]
—Philip Foster, age 34
Negative—I was very disappointed in this movie. First of all, we were confused as to what the rating was because in our theater it was posted as PG some places, and PG-13 in others. Within the first 5 minutes of the movie it is definitely clear that it is PG-13. There was a huge amount of sexual immorality through the whole movie, displaying it as normal to sleep with a guy you have just met. The eight year old girl flicked people off more than once, and the most offensive part of the whole movie was how much they used the expression “Oh my God!” This “phrase” has become so accepted in society that people don’t even notice, but my Christian friend and I kept looking at each other in disbelief and disgust every time they used it. And most of the characters used it, and often. I would not recommend this movie for anyone, It has a cute, but VERY predictable story line, but I almost walked out!
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 1]
—Kristin, age 18
Positive—I was very excited for the opening of Uptown Girls. Everytime the trailer was on TV I would sit down and watch it because it was so cute and the movie looked so good. I think I went into the theater with great expectations that the movie couldn’t meet. Don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy it and was glad I saw it. Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning were wonderful. But the movie wasn’t as funny as I expected. I wanted to see more of Molly and Rae instead of Molly and her boyfriend. But hey, what can you expect. Overall it was cute and a good movie, just not as great as I expected.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Kaley, age 16