Music and Lyrics
Time Out says
Romantic comedies are a little like pop songs: You might dismiss them as fleeting pleasures, but The Philadelphia Story or Pet Sounds’ “God Only Knows”—hell, even Notting Hill or “The Fool on the Hill”—are proof that standard harmonies, in the right hands, can be sublime. Of course, when either form lacks the tiniest hint of inspiration, nothing can make you feel jerked around more, which brings us to Music and Lyrics. The story of an ’80s pop star (Grant) who tries composing a hit single with a budding writer (Barrymore) goes through the requisite boy-meets-girl motions with such little return that fans of the genre should feel insulted. This isn’t just a chick flick wallowing in moon-spoon-June levels of Hallmark mush; it’s the “Macarena” of cut-rate rom-coms.
Given that both Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore have done minor miracles with such insubstantial material in the past, writer-director Marc Lawrence (Two Weeks Notice) must have thought that their dry Brit wit and ditzy-blond act, respectively, could compensate for zero onscreen chemistry. Neither actor rises to the challenge; you know they can do these types of movies in their sleep, you just don’t expect them to take that statement so literally. The film continues to hit all the wrong notes, from the faux-manic pacing to the milquetoast gags about a Shakira-like singer (Bennett). To top it off, Music and Lyrics has the audacity to include a speech about the dangers of pandering to the masses. Say what? Sheer ineptitude is bad enough; hypocrisy, however, is unforgivable. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — David Fear