There’s a distinct lack of subtlety throughout The Brittany Murphy Story. To show that Murphy is not a typical Hollywood starlet, there is a scene of her making eyes at a cute PA on the set of Clueless who then immediately talks shit about her (“chunky monkey”) and goes to flirt with Alicia Silverstone instead. When Murphy is upset about her appearance (she is not “heroin chic” enough to play Janis Joplin), she actually covers her mirror with a blanket and then dyes her hair blonde (she immediately becomes the center of attention after this, as if she just took off her glasses and let down her ponytail in a teen movie). A montage of her rising to fame and falling in love with Ashton Kutcher is set to Good Charlotte’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” (you know it’s Kutcher because the actor wears a trucker hat that says “This Is My Trucker Hat”). Murphy discovers her mother’s cancer is back because there is a pamphlet actually labeled “Beating Breast Cancer” left out on the kitchen counter.
The love story in the movie is not between Murphy and Kutcher but between Murphy and Simon Monjack, Murphy’s real-life husband, who died six months after she did. Monjack is a paparazzo who wants to save Murphy from all the other evil paparazzi by warning her that they will soon turn on her. This results in them getting married, even despite the multiple warnings Murphy receives about him. Nothing in this movie makes much sense.
There is a trashy appeal to Lifetime Original Movies and a natural curiosity attached to any celebrity biopic, especially one about a beloved actress who died young, unexpectedly and tragically. But The Brittany Murphy Story doesn’t earn this appeal and doesn’t deserve this curiosity. It’s not a touching portrait or a fitting tribute. It’s a deplorable cash grab that exploits Murphy’s memory and has no interest in telling the truth. Brittany Murphy was a real person who deserves better, and it’s disgusting that Lifetime doesn’t care.