Even though I thought ‘Music and Lyrics’ was a completely run of the mill romantic comedy with Hugh Grant doing that thing he does and Drew Barrymore playing another extension of herself from her previous romantic comedy repertoire, the opening scene featuring a music video from the British band PoP was worth the price of the admission alone. If you were conscious even a little bit during the 1980’s and were blessed to listen to the ‘British Invasion’ pop bands of the time and watch their videos, be it on the exploding MTV or NBC’s Friday Night Videos, this will strike a chord of nostalgia that will almost make you cry. Watching PoP bounce around to whatever the name of that song was, obviously drawing inspiration from Duran Duran, Wham, and Aha was pure magic. Me and the wife were watching this thing in stitches while the eleven-year-old is looking at us as if we’re nuts, wondering what’s so freaking funny. Now he knows how I feel watching his reaction to ‘Sponge Bob’. The rest of the movie is a strictly paint by numbers RomCom, but for the first few minutes though, it was about as good as it gets.
In this particular film
Hugh Grant plays Alex Fletcher, left hand side of the
popular 80’s British band PoP. Not to disrespect
Mr. Grant who I think is a totally charming actor, I
mean this is the cat who was bagging Elizabeth Hurley in
her prime and then left her – so dude has my respect
locked up like forever, but lately he’s been kinda like
a British version of Steven Seagal, basically doing the
exact same character in whatever movie he happens to be
in. I think you have to go all the way back to
‘Notting Hill’ to find a different variation of that
‘Hugh Grant’ character, and that includes ‘About a Boy’
which in my opinion is one of the finest films ever
made. That thing he does worked to perfection in
that movie I tell you. Anyway, since the right
hand side of PoP left the group years ago to smashing
solo success, Alex through the hard work of his loyal
agent Chris (Brad Garrett), now gets by playing old
revival concerts and amusement parks where 40-year old
women still dig his moves.
Luck shines down on the washed up rocker in the guise of superstar Cora (Haley Bennett) who is a cross between Shakira and Christina Aguilera, with like a tiny fraction of the talent, and who is a big Alex Fletcher fan. So big that she requests Alex to write a song for her. This could possibly put Alex back on the scene in a big way, but though Alex is an accomplished melodist, he is no lyricist. But fortunately for him in magical movie land he meets a quirky insecure writer named Sophie (Barrymore) who spouts lyrical magic like babies cough up spit. Through some convincing Alex convinces Sophie to work with him and the two, in the midst of falling in love of course, create a masterpiece that Cora likes, but ultimately changes into something unrecognizable. Sophie feels the need to let Cora know how she’s bastardized her artistry, but Alex in desperate need of a break is more than willing to let it slide. Needless to say this causes conflict between the new young lovers – well, reasonably young lover and somewhat old lover, causing them to go there separate ways. The question we must ask ourselves is; will this wonderfully charming couple find a common ground to settle there differences and ultimately find their way back to each other? It’s a romantic comedy. What do you think is going to happen?
These movies, particularly if Hugh Grant is in them, tend to fly on autopilot and are almost impossible to completely dislike. Be it ‘Two Weeks Notice’ or one of those Bridget Jones flicks, the script for this was written long before a lot of us were born and probably starred Jack Lemmon, and will be written exactly the same after all of us are dead. The question is what is the hook and does the hook work? In ‘Music and Lyrics’ the hook is 80’s pop music and yes, it works just fine. What I’ve managed to figure out about Romantic Comedies is that they pass or fail on the strength of the charm of their leads. To this end, at least for movies of my generation, as I can’t really comment on that Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe stuff, ‘You've Got Mail’ is like the gold standard of Romantic Comedies since you can’t get much more appealing than Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Hugh Grant is a likable dude, but he’s no Tom Hanks – but then nobody is for that matter. Drew Barrymore is a sweetie, but she’s not nearly as sweet as Meg was back in the day. Then Meg made ‘In the Cut’ and well… Let’s just say I see Meg a little differently now. If you like RomCom’s, then ‘Music and Lyrics’ will not disappoint in the least as it delivers exactly what we expect from the genre. Nothing more nothing less. If you don’t like RomCom’s, then don’t waste your time and just rent ‘Die Hard 2’ again.