Uptown Girls is a 2003 teen comedy film directed by Boaz Yakin, who was working from a screenplay which Julia Dahl, Mo Ogrodnik and Lisa Davidowitz had adapted from the story by Allison Jacobs. It starred Brittany Murphy as a 22-year-old living a charmed life as the daughter of a famous rock and roll musician. Dakota Fanning, Heather Locklear, Marley Shelton, Donald Faison and Jesse Spencer also starred.
Molly Gunn (Brittany Murphy) is a carefree and fun-spirited girl, living off the ample trust fund of her late rock legend father, Tommy Gunn. When she finds out that her father's accountant embezzled her money, she is left penniless and homeless. She moves in with her best friend, Ingrid (Marley Shelton), who tells her that in order to stay with her, she must find a job.
Molly begins work as a nanny of an eight-year old hypochondriac and neat freak named Lorraine "Rae" Schleine (Dakota Fanning). Roma Schleine (Heather Locklear), Rae's mother, is a music executive who is too busy to notice Rae. Rae's father is in a coma and is being treated at home by a private nurse. Rae attempts to maintain order in her life by stifling her emotions--she often quotes Mikhail Baryshnikov: "Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun." She even feels this way about ballet, which is one of her most beloved passions, in that she has a tendency to leave practices early when the other students in her class begin dancing freestyle. Molly attempts to show her how to have fun, which at first causes them to fight a lot, but it eventually strengthens their friendship and allows Rae to embrace her emotions.
Molly falls for singer Neal Fox (Jesse Spencer) when he plays at her birthday party thrown by her best friends, Huey (Donald Faison) and Ingrid. They share a deep relationship, and Ingrid fears that Molly does not have her priorities straight after she burns and redesigns Neal's lucky jacket; she is soon kicked out and moves in with Huey. Neal breaks up with Molly once he sees the jacket, claiming he has to pursue his music career. He gets a record deal with Roma and has a successful song and music video that Molly helped him write. (He is wearing the jacket in the video.) With the help of Ingrid, Molly cleanses herself by removing herself of all her possessions so that she can forget about Neal and her carefree lifestyle.
Molly takes Rae to Coney Island and explains that when her parents died, she ran away to Coney Island and rode the tea cups. She encourages Rae to talk to her father, even though he is in a coma. Molly promises Rae that the conditions of comatose patients improve when you talk to them. However, Rae's father dies the next day, and Rae runs away from home. Molly finds her at Coney Island, riding in a tea cup.
Molly, deciding to take charge of her own life, takes Rae's advice to auction off her late father's guitar collection to an unknown buyer; this enables her to afford her own place. At the wake for Rae's father, Molly meets other musicians who ask her to design their clothes after seeing Neal's jacket in his video. She realizes that she has a talent in fashion design and goes to design school.
Molly designs Rae's tutu for her ballet recital, which she later attends. She is surprised when Rae dances freestyle to Neal singing "Molly Smiles," a classic written by her father when she was a child. He is also playing Tommy Gunn's acoustic guitar; the remaining ballerinas are holding the other guitars from her father's collection. Apparently, a benefactor of the ballet school bought the guitars that Molly had sold at auction.
Brittany Murphy as Molly Gunn,
Dakota Fanning as Lorraine "Rae" Schleine,
Marley Shelton as Ingrid,
Donald Faison as Huey,
Jesse Spencer as Neal Fox,
Austin Pendleton as Mr. McConkey,
Heather Locklear as Roma Schleine,
Pell James as Julie,
Wynter Kullman as Holly,
Amy Korb as Kelli,
The film opened at #5 at the U.S. box office raking in 11,277,367 USD in its opening weekend. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie an Average Rating of 3.8/10 with 107 Reviews Rotten:93.
Following Brittany Murphy's death at the age of 32 on December 20, 2009, Dakota Fanning, at age 15, stated that she cherished the time they spent together while working on the film, and that she was "very grateful that she had the chance to work with Murphy.",
Jesse Spencer sings "Molly Smiles" in the movie as well as "Sheets of Egyptian Cotton", which had additional vocals by Chris Rodriguez. However, the song "Night Of Love" was completely sung by Rodriguez, but is implied in the film to be Spencer, and also sometimes credited (such as on iTunes).,
The lampshade as a hair accessory was the production team's idea, but Brittany Murphy had the idea to scrunch it up and use it as a barrette.