Music and Lyrics (2007)
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?
In New York, the washed-up singer Alex Fletcher has a decadent career singing his old hits in amusement parks, school reunions or dinner parties to survive. In the 80's, he was a successful singer of the band POP with Collin Thompson, but when his partner split, his solo-career was a complete failure. His manager and friend Chris Riley schedules a meeting with the successful teen singer Cora Corman and Alex has a chance to be promoted in a show if he delivers a new song for Cora's concert in the end of the week. Alex has difficulties to put lyrics in his melody, but he accidentally discovers Sophie Fisher, who is temporarily watering his plants and proves to be a sensitive poet and efficient lyricist. Their song is approved by Cora, but they disagree about her interpretation, while they fall in love for each other.
Alex Fletcher was one half of the 1980's British pop duo, PoP. While his PoP partner Colin Thompson has gone onto further fame and fortune in the entertainment business which includes being knighted by the Queen, Alex has faded into oblivion, his only forays into the entertainment world being singing PoP songs at cheesy retrospective gigs. He has the opportunity to make it back into the popular music world when current singing sensation Cora Corman, a huge PoP fan, commissions him to write a duet for the two of them, it needing to have the title "Way Back into Love", and which needs to be completed by the end of the week. There is no guarantee that Cora will actually record the song as she has made arrangement for other retro artists to write back-up material if Alex's song is not to her liking. Alex has a problem in that he was never good at writing lyrics, and is having issues with the lyricist he has chosen for the collaboration. He thinks he has come up with a solution when his temporary plant watering person, Sophie Fisher, starts humming some of her own made up and good lyrics to Alex's tune. Sophie is an unconfident woman and a hypochondriac, who believes that, although she writes, she is not a lyricist who can come up with words to Alex's very specific song. Even if Alex is able to convince Sophie to help him, he will have to help her overcome her emotional problems in life, most specifically around her own current minor notoriety concerning her now love/hate relationship with author, Sloan Cates, who has put his skewed version of their life on paper in the form of a best selling novel. If Sophie does assist him, she may learn the hard way of the compromises that often accompany the creative process, some of those compromises with which she may not be able to live.
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.
- As one of the founding members of the band PoP!, former pop star Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) enjoyed considerable fame and success during the 1980s and early 1990s. Fifteen years after PoP! disbanded, Fletcher is a self-acknowledged has-been, reprising his 1980s hits for audiences of his now middle-aged fans. After years of performing in increasingly humiliating venues (such as high school reunions and theme parks), a chance to recapture some of his former stardom arrives when mainstream pop singer Cora Corman (Haley Bennet) asks him to write a duet for her to be called "Way Back Into Love". To Alex's dismay, however, he has only a few days to compose the song. Furthermore, he hasn't written anything in ten years, and even with PoP!, he usually only wrote the melodies, not the lyrics. His manager (Brad Garrett) helps him to search for a lyricist, without much luck.
Alex meets former creative writing student reeling from a disastrous romance Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore) when she comes to his house to water his plants. Sophie is also a writer with little confidence in her abilities. While Alex and a hired lyricist try to come up with lyrics, Sophie comes up with words to herself while watering the plants. Alex requests Sophie's assistance on the song, and although she initially declines, after a series of conversations with him, she agrees to collaborate. There are signs of a budding romance as the two write the song, which they finish in three days. Meanwhile, Sophie runs into her ex-lover Sloan Cates, who wrote a very insulting book about her, and whom Alex assists Sophie in trying to confront, after which they go back to Alex's house and make love under the piano.
All seems well when Cora likes the song and decides to perform it and put it on her next album. However, she adds a highly sexualized "steamy and sticky" Indian-themed vibe that clashes with the spirit of Alex and Sophie's work. Sophie is determined to talk Cora out of the addition, only to find Alex vetoing her efforts for fear he'll lose the chance to work with Cora and finally revive his career. In the ensuing argument, Alex reveals a deep pessimism regarding the music business, admitting that Cora's addition is awful but viewing it as the cost of doing business. Scandalized by Alex's willingness to demean his talent and hurt by his argument that she is refusing to live in the real world, Sophie leaves him.
Cora invites Alex and Sophie to the premiere of her new tour, at which she and Alex are due to premiere "Way Back Into Love." However, to Sophie's surprise, Cora announces "a new song by Alex Fletcher", and Sophie begins to leave, under the impression that Alex stripped her of her songwriting credit. Instead Alex performs an entirely new song ("Don't Write Me Off") written by himself about his and Sophie's relationship, despite his admitted incapability of writing lyrics. Backstage, Alex tells Sophie that he convinced Cora to remove the risqué Indian-theme music of "Way Back Into Love" as an attempt to win her back. The original version of the song is performed by Alex and Cora, after which Alex and Sophie kiss backstage.