A washed up singer is given a couple days to compose a chart-topping hit for an aspiring teen sensation. Though he's never written a decent lyric in his life, he sparks with an offbeat younger woman with a flair for words.
Cheery Alex Fletcher lives comfortably in Manhattan off the residuals from his 80's pop success and reprising his hits at school reunions, theme parks, and state fairs. But those gigs are declining, so he jumps at the chance to write a song and record it with reigning teen idol Cora Corman. Trouble is, he's good at melodies but needs a lyricist and has less than a week to finish. Enter Sophie Fisher, subbing for a friend who waters Alex's plants; she's a pretty good poet, quick witted, and could do it, if she'd agree. But there's some sort of shadow over her head that Alex may not be able to charm his way past. And what if they do get a song written, what then? Written by
Hugh Grant had to be convinced to sing himself and initially wanted nothing to do with his singing parts. After practicing and performing in the studio, he then felt so comfortable with it and announced he would perform the big concert scene live. When it was played back he was highly amused and humbled by how terrible it sounded and was then happy to use the pre-recorded sound. See more »
When Alex and Cora are singing, Cora's hair changes positions during shots. See more »
Let's face it, often we go to the cinema for a bit of inconsequential fun. In case you were in any doubt, Music and Lyrics kicks off with an 80s-style Wham-like video of a band called as 'PoP'. Firmly tongue in retro-chic, Hugh Grant is Alex Fletcher, the washed-up has-been now playing the nostalgia circuit for middle-aged housewives. He meets bubbly Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore) who waters the plants in his apartment but has a knack for writing lyrics. This saves his day when current pop-diva princess Cora asks him to write and record a duet with her.
Chances are you are now reaching for the vomit bag or saying that maybe sounds like quite a giggle. If you can stomach the idea of Hugh Grant singing his own songs and staging a come back then rest assured, this is a very polished and unsubstantial rom-com. He and Drew Barrymore propel the movie with energy, wit and a warm, lovable enthusiasm. While perhaps doing little more than playing new aspects of themselves, it is a delightful performance, and one backed up with catchy songs, a fabulous debut by Haley Bennett (Cora) and a heartfelt, realistic script.
Cora is a sort of teenage megastar, somewhere between Shakira, Britney Spears and a youthful Madonna. Her elaborate stage-shows have a 'Buddhism & thong'(mysticism and sex) philosophy. Here, as with Alex and Sophie, the echelons of the music world seem realistically portrayed. While the matches seem unbelievable at first, by the end of the film we want Hugh and Drew to continue their romance offstage, just as with classic romance films of the 30s, so by any mainstream yardstick, Music and Lyrics is a success. The film is as unpretentious as its two lead actors, makes no great claims, and satisfies Valentine's Day release requirements with a sincerity that takes it a notch above the average cheese. Casting is spot-on, even down to Sophie's older (and much larger) sister, who has similar characteristics and mannerisms. It's easy viewing, and even contains nothing unsuitable for older children. If you want more sophisticated and substantial fare, you probably don't need film reviews to find your way to the nearest art-house cinema or Oscar blockbuster. But for straight enjoyment, Music and Lyrics slides down like a very reasonable glass of rich chardonnay. Silly, formulaic, but rather well done.
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