What do you mean by "frilly"? Ubuntu is very user friendly and will certainly handle standard office applications. The interface with large launcher icons is ideal for netbooks.
Linux Mint is more like Windows, perhaps better for a traditional desktop experience.
If you want something very simple and fast, Puppy Linux is often recommended. XUbuntu and LUbuntu are also possibilities if you like Ubuntu but want something simpler.
I like ubuntu, but specific graphic aspects will stutter on my weak netbook IGP. Would xubuntu work better?