Thursday, March 1, 2007

Music and Lyrics


Cute, but Average

Ah, February! Not only a time for studios to dump lame films on a mostly unsuspecting public, but also the time of the Chick Flick! Yes, it’s the month of valentines. What could be better than a romantic comedy to take your sweetie to? How about one that is actually romantic? Or funny? Music and Lyrics could have been such a movie. It does have the big stars and is kind of sweet, but needs a better script to match up with the talent involved.

Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) is a washed-up 80s pop star, who is running out of high school reunions to pay the bills. Young super star Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) is fan of Fletcher’s and wants him to write a new song for her. Needing a lyricist, Alex happens upon Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), the new girl in charge of watering his plants. She is a born writer, and the two team up, striking a partnership in business and perhaps more (wink wink)...

Both Grant (American Dreamz) and Barrymore (Fever Pitch) are both veterans of the “rom com” and perhaps felt drawn to this project so they could finally work together. That’s fine and all, but maybe they should have demanded a better screenplay, because this one is pretty bad. Jokes don’t get laughs (or snickers at best), and often feel forced. Witness Barrymore’s first appearance, when she is so spastic and fidgety that she may as well entered flapping her arms and screaming “I’m quirky! I’m quirky!”

Both actors are very likable, however, which may be the only reason to bother with this movie. I won’t go so far to say they have chemistry (with the exception of the moment when they first kiss), but they are fun to watch. I was also distracted by the apparent age difference of the two. While Grant is 46 and Barrymore 32, he looks much older, and she much younger. I wasn’t so convinced this relationship would happen outside of Hollywood. Okay, so it takes place within the music biz, but it still bugged me.

What did help was the music. It’s not great, but it is poppy and catchy, and in a movie about music this element had better work or it’s all over. I was also impressed when Grant’s character was rehearsing--the guy can actually sing. I’m sure he lip-syncs in the big concert scene, but in the smaller moments he’s quite convincing.

If you want a standard “boy meets girl” movie that fulfills the basic requirements, then you’ll probably like Music and Lyrics. If you prefer your movies to excel in any area, look elsewhere. There are better movies in this category, and they star the very actors this film blows its opportunity with.

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