Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 1996
Directed by
Spike Lee
108 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Girl 6

Spike Lee’s film is based on a presumably fact-based screenplay by Suzan-Lori Parks and tells the story of a would-be actress (Theresa Randle) who for want of paying gigs ends up working as a phone sex operator called Girl 6. Along the way she simultaneously deflects the attentions of her shiftless ex-husband (Isaiah Washington). It might be generally described as a comedy although there is a darkness to it as the young woman rather naively gets caught up in the deceptions of that world, gradually coming to rate her own worth by how much she is wanted by her anonymous callers who are using her to realize their fantasies.

The outright comedy is largely provided by Lee himself, firstly as Jimmy, Girl 6’s unemployed neighbour, an obsessive baseball fan, and secondly as Mr Jefferson, the paterfamilias in a dreadful 1970s black sit-com.  Adding to the entertainment value Lee the director also gets out his paintbox and with the help of cinematographer Malik Sayeed soaks the film in a bright, even garish, palette, interpellates cameos from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Halle Berry, Naomi Campbell  and Madonna, quotes from blaxploitation film history and tops it all off with a pop-funk soundtrack by Prince.

Whilst as a portrait of the struggling actress Girl 6 is very sympathetic to her lot (although an early scene with her acting coach suggests that she may not be a very good one), her spiritual fall metaphorically represented by a news story about a little girl who falls down an elevator shaft, the problem for most audiences will be the phone fantasies which constitute a considerable amount of screen-time. These are not only tawdry but, of course, provide no visual, appeal other than that provided by Ms Randle herself.. 

Somewhat surprisingly Ms. Randle who had had small parts in Lee’s previous films, Malcolm X (1992) and Jungle Fever (1991), and is made to look very fetching by Lee in a suite of sexy outfits (and in one questionable scene going topless) was never really heard of again despite doing a commendable job in the lead.

After a remarkable run stretching back to his 1986 debut She’s Gotta Have It, Girl 6 was Lee’s first misfire, his characteristic self-deprecating humour aside, the film's glossy style overwhelming the slight story.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst