Saturday, March 10, 2007

Music and Lyrics

"That's wonderfully sensitive... especially from a man who wears such tight pants."

Directed by: Marc Lawrence

Written by: Marc Lawrence

My rating: 1/5

To call this film run-of-the-mill would be an insult to the usual Drew Barrymore run-of-the-mill romantic comedies. The film struggles along, trying its best to be charming, but only succeeds in treating the audience like monkeys. Despite some funny, dialogue at times, it wastes the obvious talent of two of our generation’s most enchanting rom-com actors.

The main plot of the film revolves around Hugh Grant as former 80s idol Alex Fletcher. He is now washed-up and playing high school reunions and county fairs. When he gets the opportunity to write a song for a huge pop star, he must write an amazing song in two days. The only problem is, Alex Fletcher has an almost mystical inability to write lyrics. The audience is given no explanation as to why he wouldn’t even consider making an effort. Luckily, his replacement plant-waterer lady, Sophie (Drew Barrymore), begins butting into a lyric writing session with her airy-fairy rhymes and Alex is blown away, begging her to join him just to write this song. Chalk and cheese, this terrible twosome, her quirky ways annoy him, his frivolity disgusts her. However, over time, they develop a very special bond. Yadda yadda yadda.

The problem with Music and Lyrics is not merely in its impossibly obvious plot, nor can the dialogue be held completely responsible. Some responsibility must be taken by the lazy performances by its two stars who are supposedly doing exactly what they are both famous for: being charming. Hugh Grant’s cheeky, rich guy with no heart was perfected in films like About a Boy, but here he hams it up far too much, over-acting so much that it is impossible to believe anything about his character. The lovely Miss Barrymore, whose whimsical charm has made so many mediocre films tolerable just seems lazy here. Her acting is competent as always but as with Hugh Grant, she comes across as a parody of her own persona. The overblown inevitable climax is unbearably sappy and the couple are just as mis-matched as they were at the start, but are obliged to follow the exact structure of the romantic comedy genre.

In its defence, there is a very funny music video from Alex’s former band that gets the biggest laugh in the film and is quite accurate. If you have very, very low standards and have seen everything else showing in the cinema, perhaps you could tolerate this effortless mess, but overall, I’d rather be revisiting The Wedding Singer for the hundredth time

Charlene Lydon.

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