Movie Review: Uptown Girls
Can a nanny and her charge be equals? Can a grown-up and a child be friends? Can the jet-setting, party-hardy daughter of a legendary rocker become a responsible citizen? You’ll have to see MGM’s new comedy romance Uptown Girls to find the answer to these questions.

What we can tell you is that the movie focuses on Molly Gunn (played by Brittany Murphy of 8 Mile and Clueless), the free-spirited daughter of a now deceased rock star, who left Molly his fortune and a penchant for the high life. The problem is that Molly’s father’s accountant runs off with all her money and she is forced to find a job and fend for herself, which she has never done. Happily for her, a friend recommends her as a nanny to a high-powered music executive (Heather Locklear), who hires her to look after her precocious but emotionally closed 8-year-old daughter, Ray (played by Dakota Fanning). Ray is the total opposite of Molly. Molly is such a “free-spirit” she has never grown up, while Ray has never really been a child. These polar opposites must then teach each other how to act their age.

A few weeks before the film opened, I spoke with Dakota Fanning (Ray). A friendly and articulate 9-year-old looking forward to entering fifth grade, she spoke about what she likes best about making movies: “I really like meeting new people,” she says, “and going to new places, and finding out about all sorts of things that I wouldn’t otherwise.” Her least favorite thing about movies? “Leaving everyone at the end. That’s the worst part.”

She went on to talk about how she approaches playing a part. “In all my roles,” she says, “I just think what would I do in a situation, then go ahead and do that.” And she enjoyed playing Ray in particular: “It’s such a different role,” she says. “I’ve never played anyone like Ray. She is so tight and clenched,” she laughs. “And kind of mean, actually – a very fun role to play.”

Of her relationship with co-star Brittany Murphy, Fanning says, “We got along great. I really enjoyed working with her. Brittany is such an unbelievable actress. I learned a lot from her and the other actors. It was so fun to see how they play the characters after reading the script, and the choices they made and the things the actors came up with.”

When I asked Fanning about what age range she thought the movie was right for, she said: “One of the great things about this movie is that kids my age can see it and older kids can see it and so can adults and older people, it’s really right for everyone.” But when I point out that there are references to sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, that might not be appropriate for young children, Dakota thinks a minute then says, “It depends on what the parents think about what’s right for their kids.”

The film is rated PG-13, so parents may want to see it first for themselves before allowing younger children to view it.