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Friday, September 07, 2007

Music and Lyrics

****½ Music and Lyrics. Romantic comedy.

Directed by: Marc Lawrence.

Starring: Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore

We bought the DVD for Dagny's birthday, and watched it with her while she was here. Then I asked for a copy of my own for my birthday.

It's funny... or rather, it isn't--that romantic comedies are often considered trite, mindless entertainment, but yet it's apparently really hard to make a good one. I see a lot more good action movies than romantic comedies, or comedies in general.

Anyway. Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) is an 80s pop star has-been. He's reduced to doing shows at theme parks and state fairs for an increasingly older, primarily female audience. But now he's got a chance to make a comeback. Current pop diva Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) wants him to write a duet for the two of them, but only if he can have it ready in a week. Unfortunately for Alex, his usual lyricist is unavailable, Alex cannot write lyrics at all, and the substitute his manager sends is depressing.

Enter Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore). She's the "plant girl"--that is, she comes by to water his plants--and her comments lead Alex to offering her the job of helping him write the song. Just that much would be a cute movie, but it doesn't stop there.

Sophie can't take it seriously because, while she loves putting words together, an ex-lover who's a professor and a literary writer, told her that her writing sucked.

And that's what made it a truly good movie. Under the witty banter, catchy tunes, and funny situations is the story of two people recovering their confidence and sense of self-worth and falling in love as they do it.

In fact, I think that's where the mediocre romantic comedies fail--they try to make things funny by keeping them light, glossing over problems. But Music and Lyrics was romantic and funny precisely because Sophie couldn't tell her ex off, and Alex couldn't stand up for his song. It's basically the cinema equivalent of a Jennifer Crusie novel.

I tend to enjoy Hugh Grant movies--sue me--so I'm a little biased, but I think he fit this role really well. There was precisely the right balance between earnestness and, well, cheese. It would have been an easy role to overplay, to go over the top with silliness, but he doesn't. The same with Drew Barrymore--though her character's more understated, she's completely believable.

And it didn't hurt that around the same time that I saw this movie, I read Waiting for Nick, or that we we'd been watching the DVDs of Third Rock From the Sun. (Kristen Johnston plays Sophie's sister.)

And oh, yeah, the music. Very catchy. "Pop! Goes My Heart" kept running through my head for days afterward.... oh, dammit. Now it's back.


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I honestly seen only the beginning half of this movie, before I fell asleep. I guess I was tired that day. So I never get to see the whole movie. But I did see the humors in it. And oh yeah, the song "Pop! Goes My Heart" was a very catchy song. I find myself singing along too LOL

I never knew you enjoy Hugh Grant movies...very interesting fact I learn about you...heeheh
I haven't seen this one -- did you happen to catch Love Actually at any point?

Aside: it seems like every year there's a Big UK Film (TM) where they throw together a bunch of UK stars in a giant ensemble cast -- the aforementioned Love Actually being one, and a case might be made for Hitchhiker's Guide as well.
Okay, so now I'm really going to have to see this movie. I've been meaning to and never really got around to it. Thanks for your review.

Tschuess. :)
Julia, of course I like Hugh Grant movies. :) What--you think just because I like Vin Diesel movies that I can't also appreciate Hugh Grant?? ;-) I like variety!

Mike, yes, I did see Love Actually (before I started blogging about movies). And I really, really liked it. Then I started discussing it with some friends, and picking apart all the relationships, and none of them seemed like they'd last much past the end of the movie. Argh. One of the drawbacks of discussing movies.

Ute, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)
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