Music and Lyrics (PG)

Film

Romance

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Time Out says

Tue Feb 6 2007

Hugh Grant retreads familiar territory in this opposites-attract romantic comedy about a jaded old cynic in need of a touchy-feely girlfriend. Former ’80s pop star Alex Fletcher is trying to revive his career by writing a hit single, but he’s struggling with the lyrics: bring on Sophie (Drew Barrymore), the girl who waters his plants and might just revive his songs – and his love-life. There are troubling shades of ‘Be Cool’ in the music industry-obsessed plot, which spends far too long on the processes of composition, deal-making and recording (both leads sing for real, just bearably). But the banter between the pair is fitfully enjoyable, and Grant’s dark asides still amuse.
While Barrymore’s clumsy-kooky turn feels equally familiar, there are enough relatively subtle details in her performance to avoid complete stereotype. The characterisation is far from thorough, however, and the potentially funny supporting characters – Sophie’s sister, Alex’s agent – are neglected. Particularly wasteful is newcomer Haley Bennett’s humourless performance of faux-spiritual blonde pop diva Cora, a character potentially ripe for satire. A routine romcom.
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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Feb 9, 2007

Duration:

104 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Hugh Grant, Haley Bennett, Campbell Scott, Kristen Johnston, Brad Garrett, Drew Barrymore

Editor:

Susan E Morse

Production Designer:

Jane Musky

Cinematography:

Xavier Pérez Grobet

Producer:

Liz Glotzer, Martin Shafer

Screenwriter:

Marc Lawrence

Director:

Marc Lawrence

Music:

Adam Schlesinger

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John Cooper

Not a great film but better than the Time Out review suggests. The film's most successful aspect is its satiric assault on modern pop music with its emphasis on form and style. The rom-com style of the film can't really pull this off, and in the end depends on a sentimental denouement in the American style. Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore give strong performances, and manage to carry the long sections on the nuts and bolts of lyric -writing, which , though interesting intellectually, slows down the plot development, and unbalances what is essentially a film firmly planted in rom-com territory. However . . the completed `song` is effective, and more listenable than 90% of the music that pervades the airwaves these days. The Time Out reviewer is correct that more could have been done to satirize the pretentiousness of pop diva, Cora. Is Lady Gaga any good ..? I'm not sure . . .but give me Lennon-McCartney any day.