Music and Lyrics

Film, Comedy
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Music and Lyrics
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.

By: Anna Smith


Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday February 9 2007
Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Marc Lawrence
Screenwriter: Marc Lawrence
Cast: Hugh Grant
Drew Barrymore
Brad Garrett
Kristen Johnston
Campbell Scott
Haley Bennett

Average User Rating

2.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Music and Lyrics is a cookie cutter romance with little to differentiate it from the pack, other than Hugh Grant with a mullet. Grant plays an ageing 80s pop star who makes a living by clinging to the last vestiges of his fame. Handy with a melody but useless with words, his life is turned around when Drew Barrymore pops kookily up to water his plants. Turns out she's a pretty good writer, but comes with low self esteem and a whole lot of baggage. So far, so predictable. Add in a few sidekicks, an air headed pop star and an uninspiring public demonstration of love, and you're there. Sadly Barrymore comes across as whiny, Grant looks bored and there's very little chemistry to carry it. Skip the film, and just find the video of Hugh Grant singing "Pop Goes My Heart" on YouTube. It will be just as amusing and far shorter.

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.