The International Writers
Grant plays 80s pop
has been Alex Fletcher who, after fifteen years since his band, (the imaginatively
named) Pop! has disintegrated, is finally finding that offers
of work are drying up. That is however, until new pop sensation Cora -Bigger
than Britney and Christina put together - Corman, (played by newcomer
Hayley Bennett) asks him to write her a song for her to perform as a duet
in three days.
Written and directed by Marc Lawrence
Starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore
Supporting cast: Hayley Bennett, Brad Garrett and Kristen Johnston
latest offering from the money making machine that is Hollywood
romantic comedies, comes in the form of Marc Lawrences Music
and Lyrics, an unmistakably Hugh Grant movie if you ever
Cue obstacle: Alex Fletcher hasnt written a song for fifteen years
and cant write lyrics. How wonderfully surprising it is then, when
Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore) turns up on his door to water his plants
and, even more unexpectedly, has a gift for words.
Will they write their song on time and will Cora like it? What will they
find out about each other and themselves along the way? Will Hugh Grant
ever stop playing himself in various degrees and circumstances? We wait
with bated breathe.
With this film, there are fundamental flaws which ultimately reveal it
to be unoriginal, uninteresting, contrived and wholly tedious.
The first most notable problem is the cast themselves. This film sees
Grant playing Grant, a dashing Englishman with a wicked sense of humour
and a tendency to swear comically while hammering on his accent. By the
way, have you noticed that nobody actually speaks like that? Hes
probably a cockney. Meanwhile Drew Barrymore gives her trademark performance
of a zany, scatty, vulnerable yet gorgeous and brainy character that neither
surprises nor delights us not since the Wedding Singer anyway.
supporting cast, although more convincing and intriguing than that
of Grant and Barrymore, are not enough to totally redeem this picture.
Having said that, Hayely Bennetts performance of the deluded
spoiled pop star is so captivating that she could indeed be the
next Britney Spears. And then I checked she actually is the
new Britney Spears, in waiting.
Problem number two; for a romance film to work the two leading characters
in question must have a believable chemistry that convinces the audience
that it would be a great travesty if the two were never able to make it
work. When Hugh Grant kisses Drew Barrymore, all we are wondering is how
his real life girlfriend Jemima Khan will react.
The script is predictable and the dialogue makes for a feeble attempt
at comedy. In fact the writing is so flimsy that if you squint you can
actually see Lawrences bank details lurking behind it. Moreover
Alex and Sophies relationship flourishes far too quickly, with her
introduction as the plant lady as the lamest and most inexcusable introduction
of a character to date.
That we are supposed to believe that Sophie is a highly intellectual would
be up and coming writer from one of the best Universities in America
is insulting, as when pressed to write lyrics, she manages to rhyme night
with light and pens clichéd phrases about love. Okay, so perhaps
with movies we have to suspend at least a little bit of disbelief, but
this just goes to show the inadequacy of the script itself.
For example, Sophies struggle to overcome the cruelty of her ex-professor
who wrote a book about her seems like just another artificial obstacle
to cross, in order to pad out the movie to feature length material.
Yes, romantic comedies do carry a certain clichéd quality with
them, but do they have to be this bad?
Richard Curtiss Four Weddings and a Funeral survived
because of the sharp writing and inventive characters. Nia Verdaloss
My Big Fat Greek Wedding achieved its phenomenal success
as the romance was placed within a witty and clever script which also
explored traditional Greek families in America. Even Raja Gosnells
Never Been Kissed had the geek to beauty with brains
factor. So whats missing in Music and Lyrics?
Answer; a soul.
There is definitely something missing, something that cannot be disguised.
It is that other dimension, that spark of energy, humour, chemistry or
drama that makes the audience actually care about the characters. It is
this which makes a good film. The only congratulations that should be
given are to Drew Barrymores hairdresser, who does that wavy tousled
look to perfection.
To sum up, dont see this film. Have a bath, pick your nose, and
see how long it takes before you think about sheep. Whatever you do, it
will be more worth your while than seeing this film.
© liz barlow Feb 2007
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