As it is, you will go to the multiplex this weekend and see Collateral or The Bourne Supremacy. Because you know that even if they don’t feed your soul, at least there will be fast cars and name actors and you will be distracted and air conditioned for two hours.
I don’t mean to suggest that Little Black Book is a great movie. But it’s certainly a lot better than it deserves to be.
Mostly because of Holly Hunter, who is, as she almost always is, a better actor than anyone else in the film. She takes a part that would traditionally be played by Rose O’Donnell or Molly Shannon — the “wacky supportive girlfriend” — and takes it places that nobody else could.
The writing helps her get there — the script is at least 33% better than your average summer comedy. Not quite David Mamet snappy, but there are sentences and paragraphs and are brilliant and quick and dry.
And although there is a farting dog (which did make Catherine laugh, I admit), there are also wandering sheep.
The rest of the supporting cast is mixed.
Ron Livingston plays the Matthew McConaughey role unremarkably (he’s not really called on to do very much), Stephen Tobolowsky has his moments, and Kevin Sussman looks like he has promise (especially if he can avoid Cosmo Kramer pigeon-holing).
Oh, and there’s Brittany Murphy. My jury is out: through most of the movie she comes across as a sort of older Hillary Duff or Lindsay Lohan (or a junior Sandra Bullock). But she too has her moments, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there is a great movie or two lurking inside her. Someday.
I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that the constant presence of Carly Simon music in the movie, along with a plotline that involves Simon herself, was a draw for me. I am an unrepentant Carly Simon fan (see also Heartburn). If you aren’t then you may wish to avoid the film.
Little Black Book won’t feed your soul. But it is something of an unexpected surprise.