|Directed by||Spike Lee|
|Produced by||Spike Lee|
|Written by||Suzan-Lori Parks|
|Cinematography||Malik Hassan Sayeed|
|Edited by||Sam Pollard|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Box office||$4.9 million|
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 accompanying soundtrack is composed entirely of songs written by Prince. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of 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.
Judy (Theresa Randle), a young and timid African American woman living in New York, dreams of becoming a successful actress. Her agent Murray (John Turturro) helps get her an audition with Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino reveals that this is a big blockbuster groundbreaking film, and it is "the greatest romantic, African-American film ever made."
Initially doing quite well with her audition, Judy becomes uncomfortable when Tarantino asks her to undress herself. Believing that the film wasn't of that nature, she becomes very apprehensive and defiant, and contemplates leaving. After his 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, she storms out of the audition.
After finding out she walked out of the audition, Murray becomes furious. Having worked hard to get her an 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 apathy towards her acting art and the entertainment industry in general. When Judy tells her that being asked to undress herself made her uncomfortable, the acting coach still does not see why Judy walked out, and explains that she should have just followed Tarantino's directions. This, topped with Judy's current financial issues preventing her from paying her coach for her services, results in Judy being dropped 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 various 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 while returning home from her part-time job at the nightclub on a crowded subway, Judy skims through the newspaper circulars and classifieds, and sees a want-ad that says, "friendly phone line", as well as, "mo money, mo money, mo money". She slyly decides to fake cough and rip that advertisement out of the paper to cover her mouth, making it seem like she was using the newspaper as a tissue, and puts it in her purse so as not to draw embarrassment for herself.
The advertisement is for a call center specializing 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 privately in her own home, and have fewer to no restrictions on her. She would, however, have to have her own private telephone line, which she 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 although 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 collecting sports memorabilia, 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. Also, while out running errands, Judy occasionally sees her kleptomaniac ex-boyfriend (Isaiah Washington), to which she explains to him she is putting her aspiring acting career on hold to be a phone sex operator. He seems to be supportive of her with that.
Thanks to working at the phone sex company, Judy sheds her former "innocent girl" image, developing a sexually bolder attitude and personality. This shows as Judy starts to develop a crush on a man named "Bob Regular" (Peter Berg), who calls the phone sex company daily and strictly asks for her, to which Judy adapts the nickname "Lovely", especially for him. Unlike the other callers seeking a sexual fantasy or thrill, "Bob" simply converses with her cordially. 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 he never arrives, and a depressed Judy returns to work.
Upon returning to work at the phone sex company, Judy immediately and strangely receives a call request from a very frightening and obscene man who disrespects 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 even further.
Over time, Judy suddenly becomes very angry and bitter, and everybody, especially Lil, finds out that Judy is having a breakdown. Lil temporarily fires Judy from the company, and tells her to take care of herself for a while, after which she is free to return. Judy, however, quickly returns to the original offer the woman who worked at the strip club gave her and, now able to get a private line, 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 runs to Jimmy's house out of fear and asks if she could stay with him, which he allows her to do. She decides 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 almost matches her experience with Tarantino. She decides to leave the audition; however this time, having a different approach, she 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 received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews during its release. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 33% rating based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 4.80/10. The site's critics 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 grossed $4,939,939 domestically.
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". Cannes Film Festival. Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2009.
- Maslin, Janet (March 22, 1996). "Movie Review – Girl 6 – FILM REVIEW;Finding a Career in Telephone Sex". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- "Variety Reviews – Girl 6 – Film Reviews". Variety. December 31, 1995. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- "Girl 6 (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
- "Girl 6 (1996)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 10, 2021.