Making the Grades
Billy Joel sang about an Uptown Girl but I don't know if Molly Gunn (Brittany Murphy) was what he had in mind.
At 22, she doesn't have a clue about how to act her age. Maybe her ineptness should be forgiven considering her less that ideal upbringing. Orphaned as a child when her legendary rock star father and her globetrotting mother were killed in a plane wreck, she has oodles of money at her disposal and nary an adult role model in sight. Sleeping until noon, eating out of cartons and leaving her penthouse apartment in total shambles, Molly has little to do with her time other than shop, party and throw herself at anyone who shows an inkling of interest.
However, the lavish lifestyle comes to an abrupt arrest when her financial manager skips town with all of her assets. Along with that, her latest lover (Jesse Spencer) leaves for the arms of another woman. Kicked out on the street with her pet pig Mu, she moves in with best friend Ingrid (Marley Shelton), the rigid antithesis of the carefree blonde. When close living quarters strain their relationship, Molly lands on the doorstep of her guy pal Huey (Donald Adeosun Faison) who realizes this penniless socialite needs a job.
Hardly qualified for anything, Molly finally gets work as a nanny for Ray Schleine (Dakota Fanning), the germ phobic, pill-popping eight-year-old daughter of a career driven recording executive (Heather Locklear). Handed over to hired help for most of her life, Ray has matured into a paranoid perfectionist with the mind-set of a stern, old lady.
Floundering between adult and childhood, the odd pair of abandoned offspring has a lot to learn from each other. And sometimes those lessons smart just a little as Molly grows to take on the responsibilities of a caregiver and Ray loosens her grip on grownup fixations.
For parents, frequent profanities and a couple of crude hand gestures by a child may cause concern along with easily discarded moral commitments, sexual favors traded for career advancements and generous amounts of alcohol consumed by young adults.
Billed as a comedy, Uptown Girls has only moments of slapstick silliness thrown into a story of dysfunction caused by parental neglect. Believing these two girls can save each other is a definite stretch in the script. Fortunately, Molly's desire to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and Ray's attempts to find the child inside of her helps keep this film from getting totally mired in downtown despair.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Uptown Girls.
During the length of the film, Molly increases in her abilities and competence. What examples can you find of that growth? Why was it important for her to acquire basic skills rather than rely solely on connections to get a job?
After Neal leaves her for another woman, what is Mollys reaction when he renews his interest in her? Do you think he was sincere? Do you agree or disagree with the films conclusion?
Molly has two friends who come to her rescue. What are the different attitudes of Ingrid and Huey? How does each one of them help her? Would it be difficult to have a friend like Molly?