Music and Lyrics

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Music and Lyrics
Review (6.5/10)
(By Erin Cullin)

When I first heard that Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore were collaborating on a romantic comedy, I have to admit that I had a slightly squeamish feeling. I could not imagine what could possibly be romantic or funny about an aging Hugh Grant becoming involved with a much younger Drew Barrymore. It reminded me of that icky feeling that I get when I see photos of a cadaverous Hugh Hefner surrounded by his stable of vapid "blondes".

Imagine my surprise to discover that Music and Lyrics is, in fact, a light, endearing film. It is cute. It is heartwarming. It is simply a nice evening at the theatre.

Music and Lyrics tells the story of Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant), a once-famous pop star who has fallen from playing to crowds at Madison Square Garden to playing for middle-aged women at their high school reunions. Alex has been given one last chance to save himself from obscurity and financial ruin, by writing a song for Cora Corman (Haley Bennett), the pop scene's current "it-girl". With only 36 hours to complete the task, Alex finds inspiration in the unlikeliest of places - from Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), the befuddled girl who has been assigned to water his plants. Fortunately, what Sophie lacks in horticultural skills she compensates for in her ability to write music lyrics. The result is a collaboration in which Alex and Sophie both write and make beautiful music together.

This is a film that works because of the unlikely chemistry between its two stars, Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. This film debuts a more mature Drew Barrymore than we are accustomed to seeing on screen, and it is her maturity that makes her relationship with Grant seem plausible. For his part, Grant plays the same self-deprecating, lovable commitment-phobe that we have seen in pretty much every film that he has made during the last decade. This film does not bring us the best work that we have seen from either Grant or Barrymore but, for a film of this sort, the performances are adequate and credible.

In addition to the chemistry between Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, the other element that makes this film enjoyable is its third key "character" - its music. After recovering from the initial shock that I experienced to learn that Hugh Grant can actually sing, I discovered that the soundtrack for this film is actually quite catchy. I will be surprised if at least one of the songs from this film does not find its way to next year's Academy Awards in the "Best Original Song" category.

Music and Lyrics follows the formula of a typical romantic comedy. There is nothing original or thought-provoking about this film. It is, however, a cute feel-good film with a few funny moments (including those shown during closing credits), nice chemistry between its stars and a toe-tapping soundtrack. It will not be the best evening that you will spend at the theatre this year, but it is sure to bring a little bit of warmth into your heart during this bone-chilling winter season.

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