Girl 6 is a 1996 American romantic thriller black comedy film produced and directed by Spike Lee about a young innocent struggling actress living in New York City, who becomes a phone sex operator. Theresa Randle played the title character, and playwright Suzan-Lori Parks wrote the screenplay. The soundtrack is composed entirely of songs written by Prince. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. Directors Quentin Tarantino and Ron Silver make cameo appearances as film directors at a pair of interesting auditions. It is the first film directed by Lee in which he did not write the screenplay.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Spike Lee|
|Produced by||Spike Lee|
|Written by||Suzan-Lori Parks|
|Music by||Cliff Eidelman|
|Cinematography||Malik Hassan Sayeed|
|Edited by||Sam Pollard|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$4 million|
Judy (Theresa Randle) is a young and timid African American woman living in New York, who has dreams of becoming a successful actress. With the help of her agent Murray (John Turturro), she is given a chance to audition with Quentin Tarantino (himself). Tarantino reveals that this is a big blockbuster groundbreaking film, and it is "the greatest romantic, African-American film ever made."
Judy who at first seems to be doing quite well with her audition, becomes uncomfortable when Quentin Tarantino asks her to undress herself. Judy under the impression that the film wasn't related to that type of nature, becomes very apprehensive and defiant, and contemplates leaving. After Quentin Tarantino's assistant tells her that she is wasting their time and they have other people to consider and that she needs to make a choice, she reluctantly does decide to partially undress herself revealing her breasts. However becoming quickly overwhelmed with guilt, Judy storms out of the audition.
After finding out she walked out of the audition, Murray becomes furious. Having worked hard to get Judy her audition with such a prestigious director, he quickly and angrily drops her from his roster of clients. Her melodramatic acting coach (Susan Batson), is also extremely displeased at her lack of compassion to her acting art, and attitude towards the entertainment industry. When Judy tells her she felt uncomfortable by being asked to undress herself, the acting coach still does not see any reason why Judy should have walked out, and that she should have just complied with what they told her to do. This, topped with the fact that her acting coach is concerned as to why Judy is not paying her for her services, due to the fact Judy is currently having financial issues. She drops Judy from her roster of clients as well.
Now unable to secure acting work and pursue her dream, Judy must find a way to make ends meet. She tries a number of jobs, which include passing out fliers on the street for technology classes and seminars, becoming a cocktail waitress at a nightclub, and working as a background extra actor being treated unfairly in harsh conditions for local productions.
One night whilst Judy is reading the newspaper returning home from her part-time job at the nightclub on a crowded subway, she skims through the circulars and classifieds, and sees a want-ad that says, "friendly phone line", as well as, "mo money, mo money, mo money". In a sly way, she decides to fake cough and rip that advertisement out of the paper to cover her mouth, to make it seem like she was using the newspaper as a tissue and puts it in her purse, to not draw embarrassment for herself.
The advertisement is for a call center, which specializes in customer service and phone sex. To which Judy is inquiring to be a phone sex operator. Judy meets her new boss, Lil, (Jenifer Lewis) who seems to be an assertive but friendly woman. Lil interviews Judy for the position, and the both of them click. However, Lil frankly tells her she has other prospects, and that she cannot make her any promises, but she really made a good impression with her. Judy then attends interviews with other phone sex companies, including one run by a stripper (Madonna), who explains to her that unlike other phone sex companies that would have her working in a building, she would be able to work in the privacy of her own home, and have fewer to no restrictions on her. She would however have to have her own private telephone line, which Judy currently does not have. She still decides to keep this opportunity in mind for future reference.
Ultimately, Judy is hired by Lil to work as a phone sex operator at the call center. During orientation and training with other newly hired phone sex operators, she is now dubbed "Girl 6", and told by Lil that despite the fact most of the girls on the team are African-American, unless requested otherwise by the caller himself, they should always give the impression they are Caucasian. Judy very quickly learns the ropes, becomes comfortable with her new job, and fits right in.
Judy's cousin and best friend Jimmy (Spike Lee), who lives in the same complex as her and is obsessed with sports memorabilia and collecting, is very adverse to Judy working as a phone sex operator. Finding it very perverse and strange, he warns her about the dangers of the job. Judy also occasionally while out running errands sees her kleptomaniac ex-boyfriend (Isaiah Washington), to which she explains to him she is putting her aspiring acting career on hold, and is now a phone sex operator. He seems to be supportive of her with that.
Thanks to working at the phone sex company, Judy, who was once an innocent girl, is now becoming more sexually bold in her attitude and personality. This shows as Judy starts to develop a crush on a man named "Bob Regular" (Peter Berg), who on a daily basis calls the phone sex company and strictly asks for her. To which Judy adapts the nickname "Lovely", especially for him. Unlike the other callers who want a sexual fantasy or thrill, "Bob" simply associates in friendly conversation with her. Judy begins to experience positive imagery and empathy of him, although what could be false and incorrect assumptions and lies to which "Bob" explains to her.
Judy becomes very close with "Bob", and after "Bob" who explains that he's originally from Arizona, says he's currently in town and not far from her, and they agree to meet up at Coney Island amusement park, during her lunch break. Judy waits for Bob, but when he arrives he sees she has lied about her appearance and skin color and keeps on going, pretending not to be that person when she calls out to him, and a depressed Judy returns to work.
Upon returning to work at the phone sex company, Judy immediately and strangely receives a call request, and it's a very frightening and obscene man disrespecting her (Michael Imperioli). Lil who was monitoring her call disconnects him, and bans him from calling. She reminds her that she is being far too nice to the men that call in, and that she needs to be more stern and careful. The man however oddly connects back to Judy's phone, and disrespects her more.
As time goes on, Judy suddenly is now becoming very angry and bitter, and it is visible to everybody, especially Lil, that Judy is having a breakdown. Lil temporarily fires Judy from the company, and tells her to take care of herself, and that's she is free to return after that. Judy however quickly goes back to the original offer the woman who worked at the strip club gave her, and is able to now get a private line, and decides to become a private phone sex operator in her home. Judy also becomes to be more sexually aroused and comfortable from the callers in her private line.
One night while taking calls from her private line, she goes into a very explicit and perverse S&M and snuff related conversation. Judy soon realizes that she is talking to the same exact man that called her incidentally and immediately after "Bob Regular" stood her up at Coney Island. The man is even more disrespectful than he was before, and saying very rude things to her. Due to the graphic nature of the conversation, it later turns out the man is possibly a serial killer, and gives very graphic sexual and homicidal details as to what turns him on. Judy disconnects the call, but despite that, the man continually calls back, even though she is ignoring him and disconnecting the numbers he is calling from. Judy eventually gives in, to which she tells him to leave her alone. The man then shockingly reveals that he knows exactly where she lives, and says her exact location. Judy scared and irate, finally snaps at him, to which the caller is satisfied at her anger and is pleased by it.
Immediately after that, Judy out of fear runs to Jimmy's house and asks if she could stay with him, which he allows her to do. She decides that it is time to leave the phone sex career behind and move to Los Angeles, for her acting career. Before leaving, she makes amends with her ex-boyfriend.
Now living in Los Angeles and continuing her dream to become an actress, Judy attends another audition with a director (Ron Silver) which parallels and is almost identical to her experience with Tarantino. She decides to leave the audition, however this time, Judy has a different approach, and happily walks down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, having reclaimed her dignity.
- Theresa Randle as Judy/Girl 6
- Isaiah Washington as Shoplifter
- Spike Lee as Jimmy
- Jenifer Lewis as Boss #1 - Lil
- Susan Batson as Acting Coach
- Debi Mazar - Girl #39
- Peter Berg as Caller #1 - Bob
- Michael Imperioli as Caller #30 (scary caller)
- Kristen Wilson as Salesgirl #1
- Debra Wilson as Salesgirl #3
- Naomi Campbell as Girl #75
- Gretchen Mol as Girl #12
- Richard Belzer as Caller #4 - Beach
- Larry Pine as Caller #33 - Wall Street
- Coati Mundi as Caller #8 - Martin
- Delilah Cotto as Caller #8 - Christine
- Anthony Nocerino as Caller #6
- Tom Byrd III as Caller #18
- Madonna as Boss #3 (relaxed boss)
- John Turturro as Murray - the Agent
- Quentin Tarantino as Director #1 - NY
- Ron Silver as Director #2 - LA
- Halle Berry as Herself
- Joie Susannah Lee as Switchboard Operator
- Ranjit Chowdhry as Indian Shopkeeper
- Mekhi Phifer as Himself (uncredited cameo)
Girl 6 earned mostly mixed-to-negative reviews during its release and currently holds a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 33 reviews. The critical consensus reads; "Girl 6 has a compelling star, a Prince soundtrack, and Spike Lee's vivid style - and, unfortunately, a story that's never as compelling or insightful as it needs to be."
The film was not a box office success.
In 2006, Girl 6 saw DVD release on its 10th anniversary through Anchor Bay Entertainment. Special features include a "making of" featurette and a reel of behind-the-scenes footage. There is no commentary track. In commemoration of its 10th anniversary, the film also saw frequent rotation in 2006 on HBO along with other Spike Lee films like Malcolm X and She Hate Me.
- "Festival de Cannes: Girl 6". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
- Maslin, Janet (1996-03-22). "Movie Review - Girl 6 - FILM REVIEW;Finding a Career in Telephone Sex". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
- "Variety Reviews - Girl 6 - Film Reviews - - Review by Variety Staff". Variety. 1995-12-31. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
- "Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. 1996-03-26. Retrieved 2012-10-02.