‘Little Black Book’ (2004) Review

In Little Black Book, Stacy (Brittany Murphy) is an associate producer on a successful talk show. She’s also living with her boyfriend, Derek, who is reluctant to discuss his past relationships… or commit fully to Stacy. While Derek is out of town, Stacy confides in two co-workers, Barb and Ira, about her misgivings, especially when a potential guest on the talk show is revealed to have been an ex-girlfriend of Derek’s. Barb and Ira encourage Stacy to look through Derek’s palm pilot, the modern-era version of a little black book.

In an effort to uncover Derek’s secrets, Stacy does just that… and much, much more. Things get out of hand to the point where Stacy begins questioning if Derek is really the one for her… or if she’s the right one for him.

I have never seen Little Black Book, but it was recommended to me from a post on Instagram, so here I am! I’m reluctant to call Little Black Book a romantic comedy because Derek (Ron Livingston) has very little screen time, and most of Stacy’s interactions are with her co-workers and Derek’s exes. But I will let that slide because Stacy spends most of the movie attempting to uncover Derek’s past to determine whether they’re right for each other.

Watching Stacy spiral out of control was mildly uncomfortable and amusing. I’m not sure she would have gone to such extremes without Barb (Holly Hunter) and Ira (Kevin Sussman) egging her on, but alas. What kind of movie would this have been if Stacy hadn’t violated her boyfriend’s privacy and roped his exes into her insecure, crazy shenanigans??

Despite that, I can see how the movie attempted to pull off some satire regarding reality television and its lack of boundaries, but it’s clumsy in its approach. The big “reveal” at the film’s end comes across as a disjointed mess, leaving Stacy looking and sounding like a hysterical woman with a hundred red flags warning others to stay away. This is not what we’re usually looking for in our rom-com heroines.

I cannot comment too much on Stacy and Derek as a couple because we don’t see much of them in that stage of their lives before Derek is gone and Stacy goes nuts. Ron Livingston is wasted both in his screen time and his dud of a character. Brittany Murphy was a very promising leading lady, and I know that if she had the proper script and director, she could have been right up there with someone like Sandy B. in terms of romantic comedies. It’s a real shame to lose such talent so soon. The rest of the cast was also great, but a mediocre script lets them all down.

The good things? Carly Simon-filled soundtrack!

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."