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Music and Lyrics

Published February 13, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Warner Bros.
Music and Lyrics Music and Lyrics
Hugh Grant is the man. Ever since he played the A-hole in Bridget Jones’s Diary, I forgave him for Nine Months. That was Chris Columbus’s fault. About a Boy sealed the deal though. He could apply his charms to a horrible manipulation of vulnerable people and learn a valuable lesson without really growing as a person.

Movie Review: Music and Lyrics


Music and Lyrics may not be the most sophisticated use of Grant’s talents, but it totally works. He plays Alex Fletcher, a has-been ‘80s rocker who now makes a fine living playing theme parks and high school reunions. But a new pop star (Haley Bennett) wants him to write her next hit, only he was just the music man. He needs a lyricist, and finds a natural in his plant waterer Sophie (Drew Barrymore). Think this relationship will remain all business?

This movie is for romantics who want to see two cuties hook up and it’s got a healthy dose of satire and irreverence for the music industry. The opening music video full of stilted, melodramatic acting and ridiculous backdrops shows Grant coming to life as he hams it up.

Alex is a wonderful character, happy with his place in the world, clearly doing fine. It lets Grant play with both of his personas, the romantic and the jerk. His one-liners are perfectly timed with astute observations about the contrived situations in which he finds himself. Even when his character panics, you can still feel him inside going, “I’m Hugh Grant. I’m gonna come out fine.”

Barrymore has to deal with more sort of forced neuroses. These are the easy laughs, just have her do and say silly things, walk into walls, hiding, crawling. That’s the material. She makes it more adorable than the best Bullocks and Ryans.



Bennett can’t really top Anna Faris in Just Friends. It’s essentially the same joke, but what can you do? It is the modern music industry and her bits are as astute as, if a bit easier than, the ‘80s stuff.

Their music is actually pretty catchy. Of course it’s not too deep because it is supposed to be pop, but if modern musicians wrote like this, I’d buy a lot more music.

The film still follows the conventions of romantic storytelling but it makes perfect sense in this scenario. The big fight is over art versus business. That is what they’d be fighting over. And Alex’s lavish gesture to win Sophie back is pretty witty. Remember, it’s still kind of a spoof, but within the confines of both a movie and a music genre, you could say it hits all the right notes. Ha ha.

Music and Lyrics rocks and romances audiences with more laughs than many straight comedies. It delivers exactly what it promises without making us feel guilty for coming back for more.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Warner Bros.
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