Jun 13, 2014

Review: Music and Lyrics (2007)

Music and Lyrics isn't so different from any other romantic comedy. The basic formula of two people meeting, getting involved with each other and having a falling out is there. The way in which it combines these basic ingredients however is well done and it's easy to just sit back and enjoy the show. It's not a movie that requires a lot of involvement but it doesn't make you roll your eyes either.

It opens to a brilliantly executed 80's pop music video that is dangerously catchy, so watch out. Hugh Grant's character is what you would call a 80's has-been, who's satisfied with living in the past and making easy money on appearances. Alex Fletcher was once in a pop group called Pop!, inspired by Wham! and Duran Duran. It's exactly the kind of role that Hugh Grant fits.


Genre: comedy, music, romance
Directed by: Marc Lawrence
Produced by: Liz Glotzer, Martin Shafer, Bruce Berman, etc.
Written by: Marc Lawrence
Music by: Adam Schlesinger
Running time: 96 minutes
Production company: Castle Rock Entertainment, Village Roadshow Pictures, Reserve Room, etc.
Distributed by: Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Sandrew Metronome Distribution, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $40,000,000
Box office: $145,896,422 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Brad Garrett, Kristen Johnston, Haley Bennett, Campbell Scott, Scott Porter, Matthew Morrison, Aasif Mandvi, Jason Antoon, Jeremy Karson, Emma Lesser, Adam Grupper, Charlotte Maier, Toni Trucks, Lanette Ware, Billy Griffith, Stevie Ray Dallimore




Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant), once part of the 80's group Pop! has settled into doing appearances that become increasingly depressing given how popular he once was. He gets a stroke of luck when he is tasked by teen star Cora to write her a song and perform it with her as a duet. It's a surefire way to get back into the mainstream. That is, if he can pull it off by a certain amount of time and beat all of the other has-beens who have also been asked to do the same thing. Fletcher isn't much of a writer but takes on Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore) to be his lyricist.


As I had said for Grant, Drew Barrymore also plays a character she is perfectly suited for. She's a bit wacky with also a certain amount of self-doubt. Hugh Grant is jokingly narcissistic but really is unsatisfied with his life. He's basically the same character as he was in About a Boy, but this time around he was once a famous pop star. Marc Lawrence utilizes his actors correctly and he coaxes some nice chemistry between the two.

The relationship of Alex Fletcher and Sophie Fisher stays on the fringe of being a full-blown relationship throughout the film. Both actors are fed some pretty good lines but at times the effort feels a bit unnatural. It's well-written and it's fun watching Grant and Barrymore bounce off each other but people don't talk like that in real life. It's still more realistic and more fun than what you typically see in other rom-coms though.

Music and Lyrics has a pretty cheesy resolution but it's one that's difficult to dislike. Given the story and nature of the movie it's a good fit. In any other romantic comedy, it's the kind of resolution that would be easy to rip apart. With Music and Lyrics though, you just can't help but like it.

The contrast between pop stars of today and yesterday makes for some amusing moments. Music & Lyrics gets all the rom-com tools working together harmoniously and its are actors on board. Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore are both playing familiar roles that don't have them stepping outside of their boundaries but all in all it's satisfying. The singing is perhaps a bit of a sore point because at times it's pretty obvious that it's not really Grant and Barrymore actually singing. All the same, I'm able to say that Music and Lyrics is a decent romantic comedy.



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