Little Black Book

Not very recommended. Feminist parable about the unreliability of men for female happiness. But its pretty well done and entertaining, up until the ending agenda that leaves the viewer unsatisfied. Brittany Murphy plays Stacy, a new young hireling to a daytime sleaze talk show, a female Jerry Springer, Kippy Kann, played by Kathy Bates. Stacy’s dream is to be Diane Sawyer and Carly Simon roled into one, but in the mean time, she has to work her way up the ladder while maintaining a romance with her boyfriend Derek. Someone comes up with the idea of doing a show on men’s little black books, to discover the women in their lives. When Stacy stumbles upon one of Derek’s ex-girlfriends talking as if she still has a connection to him, Stacy is drawn to Derek’s “little black” palm pilot. What’s very clever about this story is its mentor, played by Holly Hunter as the cynical experienced writer Barb. Barb apprentices Stacy throughout the story, giving her wisdom on how to deal with her boyfriend – by not trusting him. The other great element is that it winds up being a trap. Barb is actually manipulating Stacy into one of the Kippy Kann shows. So Stacy ends up as one of those dufuses who walks in to the show having no clue SHE is the sucker. An excellent revelation of betrayal as Stacy becomes one of the fools who is deceived, just as she has deceived her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends for her own purposes. This is an excellent morality tale on that level. But then it gets into trouble, when Barb, who should be the devil, turns out to be Stacy’s salvation because Derek really is still in love with his ex, and not Stacy. So it turns out to be “for her own good.” Well, I think it is a rather unique and interesting unpredictable storyline to have the heroine realize she is not “the one” for another man, and therefore he is not “the one” for her. Romances of course usually end up with the revelation that it was all a big misunderstanding, and the boyfriend loves her more than any other. Sometimes these kind of romances can reinforce the Romantic humanistic worldview that salvation is found in romance, the love of another human being. For that reason, I like having a romance where the person discovers that another person is NOT what completes their humanity or saves them from their despair. The first false ending is another great unpredictable twist that I liked. Stacy is all alone, now, but a stronger person for having walked away from a detrimental relationship. Okay, I’m with them. Fine. She meets an old friend from high school by chance and blurts out in a fairy tale way that now she realizes why this all happened to her. It was because somehow this old friend was the solution to her happiness. Very deliberately schmaltzy. But then she sees that he is married and she walks away embarrassed. So the point is made by the story that her revelation about Derek was NOT for her to be fulfilled by another man, which is the predictable romance ending. I even found that rather insightful and clever. But here is where the feminist agenda flows in like a Carly Simon concert on estrogen. Next scene we see Stacy getting a job with, who else? DIANE SAWYER. The woman of her dreams! Stacy jumps up and down and say’s “I got the job! I got the job!, using the word “job” so many times to make sure we do not miss the agenda that it is a job that will satisfy Stacy and fulfill her with happiness, not someone to love. And what makes it even more embarrassingly preachy is that Carly Simon just happens to be there for an interview and the two jump up and down together. Oi vey! This is the old feminist rant from the 60s, and to be quite honest, its almost ludicrous to think that there are some women around who actually still want to be like men. Problem is, even men have finally discovered that jobs and careers do not make happiness at all. Feminists are like 10 plus years behind the curve. Come on and catch up, ladies. Newsflash: careers do not provide the meaning of life and happiness. Even men have figured that one out. You don’t want to be more stupid than men do you? That’s what makes this movie unsatisfying. The solution for Stacy’s happiness turns out to be a very empty proposition, at least for those of us seeking transcendent meaning and purpose in life. This life is not all there is. The things that really matter are the love of God and neighbor. Stacy should watch the movie The Family Man and learn a little bit from a man who’s already been there done that and found career to be a spiritual and human dead end. All in all, a very clever anti-romance that is soured by an outdated feminist agenda.

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