Friday, July 5, 2013

Music and Lyrics (2007) [PG-13] ****

Composer Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) was a member of the 1980s hit singing group PoP! After the band broke up, Alex released a solo album, but he was not a strong lyricist, and so his album flopped. Now, twenty years later, he's been reduced to performing at high school reunions and amusement parks, but even these gigs are drying up.

Then his manager brings him an opportunity to write a new hit song for rising young pop star Cora Corman (Haley Bennett), and sing the song with Cora at her upcoming concert at Madison Square Garden. But, Alex only has a week, and he doesn't have a lyricist until Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), the girl who waters his plants, shows a natural ability to write lyrics. Sadly Sophie lacks self-esteem; she fell in love with a best-selling novelist (Campbell Scott) who turned her into a title character - a failed young author and manipulative seductress.

Alex convinces Sophie that he needs her, and that she can do it; their new song Way Back Into Love is beautiful. But Sophie feels Cora's arrangement corrupts the song's purity, and when she can't write the final verse, Alex, in a fit of pique, accuses her of being a failure, just as the novel describes her, and Sophie is crushed.

The film has a clear, if predictable, story arc - boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. The soundtrack is memorable and a pivotal scene in the film occurs during Cora's concert, when Alex sings his newly written ballad Don't Write Me Off as an extraordinary gesture to win Sophie back. Supporting characters Kristen Johnston as Sophie's older sister, and Brad Garrett as Alex's manager, are excellent; both have incredible comedic timing and provide great balance to Grant and Barrymore's terrific romantic chemistry and their surprisingly good vocals. This is a heart-warming, happy-ending romantic comedy that will have you smiling. If you enjoyed Two Weeks Notice, also written and directed by Marc Lawrence, I predict you'll love Music and Lyrics. 

Labels: comedy, music, romance     
Internet Movie Database     
Metacritic 59/100     
Tomatometer (critics=63, viewers=70)     

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