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Movie Review: Music & Lyrics

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The film opens with a perfect spoof of an eighties-era music video, featuring the band Pop! with Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant). In the video, Hugh Grant looks like an alternate member of Duran Duran, makes dance moves stolen from George Michael or Wham! In fact, it might be worth seeing this movie just for this funny video. However, the video and some other clever musical moments are attached to a routine romantic comedy. Meet Alex Fletcher a washed-up, but charismatic ‘80s pop star who has been reduced to the nostalgic performances in amusement parks.

He doesn’t mind about it too much since he gets to sing his old songs and his fans, although older now, still throng round him. But Alex is really talented musician and when his manager (Brad Garrett) provide for him a comeback chance to compose a song for the teen pop sensation Cora Corman (Haley Bennet) for her upcoming concert, he jumps on it, but has one small problem: Alex hasn’t written a song for ages and needs to create this one in a few days. He needs a lyricist right now. That’s where Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), Alex’s wacky domestic help, who waters his plants, turns out to have a hidden talent for writing pop lyrics.

If you’ve ever seen a romantic comedy, you should be able to figure out the storyline from here. Sophie has good ideas for Alex’s new song and he notices it. Film is typical romantic comedy because there is a lot of funny situations with Sophie’s family, with her mad sister who is big fan of Alex. She loves his songs and knows his pop group very well. Alex and Sophie have a short time for new song for Cora. They have big problems with completing these lyrics. Sophie is very backhanded and restless and it is beginning of all the complications. When lyrics for new song are done, Alex writes music and they render new track to Cora.

When Cora hears this new romantic song, she says: “yes it is good and it is exactly what I was looking for“ but in studio she makes new version of this song by using a DJ and very bad vocal. When Sophie hears this new song she tries to talk to Cora about this problem, but Alex needs money and he keeps Sophie away from Cora. We could see true love of these two people during the first two parts of movie, but right there all the feelings have disappeared. Sophie is cold-shoulder to Alex and he behaves just the same way to her. Next weekend, Alex has concert with Cora where Sophie promises to go.

Alex sings there his own love song just for Sophie so of course Sophie forgives him. This is a typical end for romantic films and romantic comedies. But finally there is one minor contrast to other romantic comedies: Funny videos with POP and Alex. It is a new component in romantic comedies. People don’t watch romantic comedies because they like unexpected plot twists or innovative story lines; we watch this romantic comedies because we like watching two characters who initially may even hate each other, but slowly they become attracted and overcome all kinds of barriers and jump through hoops to finally hook up by the end of the movie.

Predictability of the result is not a problem, as long as we have fun to find it out. However, Music and Lyrics still doesn’t measure up to the standard romantic comedy. Barrymore and Grant, they didn’t fall in love at the first sight, it took a nice while. If this is film where they turned out to be best friends until pursuing other romantic interests, I’d have found it much more believable. (Plus, he’s too old for her) Another problem is that their characters have quite different dimensions, even for romantic comedies.

Grant’s best position is to watch him in the role of bit bitchy man — see Bridget Jones’s Diary and About a Boy for example — but Alex Fletcher’s personality is at best a diluted imitation of these characters. He’s defined as a hack who wants just money, and that’s all, what we know about him. Sophie is a reprise of Barrymore’s character when we do find out why she has trouble writing, it’s more silly than revealing. I prefer Barrymore in the role of stronger and more assertive character.

Here, her performance reminded me too much of Goldie Hawn’s kooky characters in 1970s comedies.? A supporting cast full of actors with good comic timing helps keep the film as lively as it is, especially Kristen Johnston as Sophie’s even wackier sister Rhonda.? Despite it, Music and Lyrics has its entertaining moments. Every time Hugh Grant has to perform those 1980s songs and dance moves in tight trousers. I like electronic music, but Pop! ’s kind of music is very old-fashioned for me, even though I like this music for its lyrics and melody.

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