Girl 6

on March 22, 1996 by Thomas Quinn
Spike Lee's light drama about a struggling actress who slips into the world of phone sex gives the whole subject a surprisingly mild treatment, especially for Lee. Stunning Theresa Randle stars as Girl 6, the title assigned to her when she lands a job at a rather tony New York phone-sex service. Unlike the gruesome joints full of fat ladies that you hear about on "Oprah," this place hires the likes of Naomi Campbell. It even provides training sessions, plush offices and understanding management. With this seedy vocation so cleanly rendered, one wonders why Lee decided to investigate it at all. Far from ripping the veil off the profession's facade, he makes it look like a pretty fair career choice.
Randle is so charming and watchable that her charisma and voice carry much of the picture. Beginning as a desperate actress in need of a break, she nevertheless walks out of an audition for a snotty director (aptly played by Quentin Tarantino) when he asks her to expose her breasts. But she receives no sympathy form her sleazy agent (John Turturro) or her rebukeful acting coach (Susan Batson), and she's soon dumped by both of them until she "grows up." Stuck in a dive apartment wtih a broke baseball-card collector (Lee) as her only friend, and a shoplifter ex-husband trying to patch things up, she finally opts for a phone sex job. To her surprise, she finds she's pretty good at it; in fact, she likes it so much she begins to get emotionally involved with her clients and forgets about her acting career.
"Girl 6" is entertaining and at times quite funny. But about halfway through it seems to run out of ideas. Lee calls on his signature gimmicks and energetic style to keep matters moving, but the story itself is drifting and never adds to anything. We never know what Lee is trying to say with his strangely inconclusive film, or what Girl 6 feels about her venture into telephonic titillation. Recognizable faces appears in cameos throughout, including Madonna (who vamps terribly) as another phone-sex service owner, Peter Berg and Richard Belzer as two horny customers, Ron Silver as another Hollywood director, and Halle Berry as herself. the artist formally known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince provides a great score. But all this talent remains in the service of a story that never figures out what it wants to say. Starring Theresa Randle, Isaiah Washington and Spike Lee. Directed and produced by Spike Lee. Written by Suzan-Lori Parks. A Fox Searchlight release. Drama. Rated R for explicit sexual dialogue and some nudity. Running time: 108 min
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