My hunch is that if we were do do a survey of people's preferences of Trek movies in order, ST3 would consistently fall mid-table. It's not often I see it claimed as a favourite, but it never gets Nemesis or Final Frontier level hate either.
re: the original question, Uhura was probably doing something helpful but unglamorous, to slow down Starfleet's pursuit of Enterprise. Messing with computer records or something. The kind of thing a novellisation can flesh out, but in a movie would just screw with the pacing.