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Girl 6

Like the lead character's name, Girl 6 largely remains a cipher. Despite an intriguing premise and an appealing lead performance by Theresa Randle, Spike Lee's modestly scaled look at a young actress who becomes hooked on her job as a phone sex operator crucially lacks narrative momentum and psychological depth. Pic is Lee's first on which he receives no writing credit.

With:
Theresa Randle Isaiah Washington Spike Lee Jenifer Lewis Debi Mazar Quentin Tarantino

Like the lead character’s name, Girl 6 largely remains a cipher. Despite an intriguing premise and an appealing lead performance by Theresa Randle, Spike Lee’s modestly scaled look at a young actress who becomes hooked on her job as a phone sex operator crucially lacks narrative momentum and psychological depth. Pic is Lee’s first on which he receives no writing credit.

Interludes detailing her indoctrination into the world of this thriving business, presided over in the comforting manner of a no-nonsense but mother hen-like madam named Lil (the wonderful Jenifer Lewis), and her acceptance by the other women there, exert an undeniable fascination. More significantly, she soon not only becomes awfully good at ‘phone bone,’ but actually gets to like it. A lot.

Along the way, Girl 6 is persistently pursued by her ex (Isaiah Washington), a rather shifty shoplifter, and is challenged about her lifestyle by her neighbor, Jimmy (Lee), a baseball card collector.

The men are seen in diverse locations in footage that was shot in Hi-Def, giving it a deliberately rougher, more electronic look than the otherwise lushly appointed visuals. But all of these diversions can’t disguise the lack of a strong story.

Debi Mazar and Naomi Campbell stand out among the great, mutually supportive ladies. Madonna, done up like an old tart, is in briefly as the head of a more hardcore phone service.

Girl 6

Production: 40 Acres & a Mule/20th Century-Fox. Director Spike Lee; Producer Spike Lee; Screenplay Suzan-Lori Parks; Camera Malik Hassan Sayeed; Editor Sam Pollard; Music Prince; Art Director Ina Mayhew

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1996. Running time: 107 MIN.

With: Theresa Randle Isaiah Washington Spike Lee Jenifer Lewis Debi Mazar Quentin Tarantino

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