Music and Lyrics Movie Review

Subscribe Hugh Grant
It's not a complaint when I say that Hugh Grant seems to play the same role over and over these days. It never gets old to watch him play a complete bastard who is also loveable and endearing in his utter self-absorption. It may eventually get tiresome to see the spiky-haired acerbic bloke woo the girl, but it hasn't yet -- and it is certainly an improvement over his earlier, sappy-and-awkward romantic stylings.

In Music and Lyrics, Grant's playing Alex Fletcher, former frontman of a hilariously '80s band called Pop and current contented has-been. While living exclusively in the land of former glory does allow Alex to wallow in adoration without really having to do anything whatsoever, his bottom-of-the-barrel tour dates are drying up and the money is running out. He gets the chance to revive his career when a vapid pop superstar gives him four days to write her a hit song.

Alex is lucky enough to have a novice lyricist as his fill-in plant tender, so he and Sophie (Drew Barrymore) strike up an impromptu partnership to crank out a twee pop ballad in under a week. It's a convenient set up for the odd couple brand of foreplay so popular in chick flicks, with the flirty banter and clever quipping, but most of the entertainment isn't from the awkwardness of first love so much as it is about Barrymore's floopy, hippie appeal colliding with Grant's sarcastic charm.

There is something about Music and Lyrics that seems rote, even for a prototype in the romantic comedy field. It hits all the appropriate rises and falls of a burgeoning onscreen romance -- the meet cute, the sudden discovery of deep feelings, the obstacles that threaten to tear the lovers apart -- and it hits them precisely when convention dictates. But it does so even though Barrymore and Grant have a more bickering sibling or flirtatious friends vibe than they do, even though their romance has no real roadblocks to it, even though it feels like these things happen because they are supposed to happen in romantic comedies.

But Music and Lyrics is much more comedy than romance. It's funny because of Alex's unflagging wittiness, and the tragically accurate satire of a rich pop star's enthusiasm for both Hunduism and onstage dry humping he calls "dancing." Kristin Johnston is also a delight as Sophie's sister, a weight-loss guru with a huge residual crush on Alex's patented Pop dance moves. It's accidentally funny because of the bargain basement dubbing in of singing voices for all the actors (which has happened to Barrymore before, in Everyone Says I Love You). But the absolute top tier of comedy is the opening scene of Pop's original 1984 hit, "Pop Goes My Heart," which is spectacularly Wham-tastic.

It's too bad that Music and Lyrics isn't better, because it's been ages since there was a really good romantic comedy, and this one looks adorable on paper. But writer-director Marc Lawrence, who previously did Two Weeks Notice, may know how to write Hugh Grant to be flawlessly endearing, but he does not seem to have the same knack for pacing an entire romance. It's got all the polish and pizzazz of an entertaining movie, but it really feels too chicky for a good comedy, yet not romantic enough for the Valentine's release it's set up to be.

Are there any rapping grannies in the house?

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :

Subscribe Hugh Grant


Music and Lyrics Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG-13, 2007


More Hugh Grant

'The Rewrite': Hurray, Hugh Grant is Still Funny

It seemed like a reasonable idea to Reteam Hugh Grant and Marc Lawrence, who worked so successfully together on Two Weeks' Notice and Music &...

Celebrities Take Part In New Social Media Challenge

Just when you thought it was safe to return to social media following the complete saturation of the Ice Bucket Challenge, a new phenomenon would...

The Rewrite Trailer

Keith Michaels once had it all; recognition and money from an award-winning screenplay and an attractive wife to share it with. However, now he's nearing...

What Would 'Harry Potter' Have Been Like With This Alternative Cast?

There’s a generation out there who have been practically weened on Harry Potter. The books and the films have become a religion for devout fans...


Helen Fielding To Colin Firth: "Are You Sitting Down? Yeah...Darcy's Dead"

Helen Fielding's decision to kill of major character Mark Darcy in the latest instalment of the Bridget Jones series Mad About the Boy was met...

Bridget Jones Third Novel Promises Monumental Character Death

It's the biggest literary news of the past seven days: if you somehow haven't heard who author Helen Fielding has killed off in her Bridget...

Richard Curtis Bows Out Of Filmmaking: What's His Secret Rom-Com Formula?

Master of the romantic comedy genre, Richard Curtis, who helped bring us some of Britain's best-loved romance films of the last three decades has said...

Cloud Atlas Movie Review

Mad geniuses Tom Tykwer (Perfume) and the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix) boldly take on David Mitchell's layered epic novel, which connects six generations through the...