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August 15, 2003

Hot? Yes. Is Brittany Murphy

— Posted by John Campea

Hot? Yes. Is Brittany Murphy talented? No.
My first real exposure to Brittany Murphy was in the thriller Don’t Say A Word with Michael Douglas. The movie didn’t thrill, and one of the main reasons for the minor failure was Murphy being in a role that was just over her head. Audiences and critics just couldn’t buy her in the role. She has yet to really impress anybody.

Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune pretty much sums up Murphy and her short comings as an actress in his review of her new film Uptown Girls opening today. Here’s an excerpt:

The true measure of a star may be her ability to transform pap into froth. Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon established their leading-lady credentials by elevating otherwise mundane material in “Pretty Woman,” “While You Were Sleeping” and “Legally Blonde.” The chirpy, button-pushing “Uptown Girls” requires a similar magic job from Brittany Murphy, but that trick isn’t up the young actress’s sleeve.

Murphy is an odd sort of starlet to begin with; she was elevated to “it girl” status more through her appearances on magazine covers than her performances in movies. She’s colorful as a side character (as in “Clueless” and “Girl, Interrupted”), with her wide raccoon eyes, runaway hair (usually bleached blonde) and lithe body that always seems a bit off balance. In truth, she usually seems a bit off balance; you watch anticipating which way she’ll teeter and who’ll catch her.

One of the key differences between Witherspoon and Murphy is that when Witherspoon plays a ditz, she’s a ditz in control. When Murphy plays a ditz, she’s just … ditzy. In “Uptown Girls” she’s like a puppy in traffic; you’re confident she’ll reach the curb but only because the cars are swerving, not because her moves are so deft.


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