Music & Lyrics is Hugh Grant’s latest foray into the genre of romantic-comedy, a genre he all but owns. The movie begins with something unexpected: a parody of an ’80s music video, featuring tight pants, bright colors and Grant on vocals; unfortunately, the rest of this lighthearted film is much more predictable, leaving something to be desired.
Alex (Grant) is a washed-up former pop star looking for a way to break back into the limelight. Resigned to playing at high school reunions and cheesy theme parks, Alex jumps at the chance to compose and record a hit song for current pop sensation Cora Corman (newcomer Haley Bennett), a Britney-Christina hybrid with a Buddhist flair. This presents one problem; while Alex is a talented composer, he had always left the lyrics up to his former band mate.
Enter Sophie (Drew Barrymore), a quirky young woman who waters Alex’s plants and happens to have a knack for coming up with catchy lyrics. Once Alex discovers Sophie’s hidden talent, the two spend several days grappling over chords, phrases and their ever-growing mutual attraction.
While writer-director Marc Lawrence’s premise is intriguing and the script is fairly entertaining, the film’s formulaic plot lacks the originality crucial to making a memorable romantic-comedy. Furthermore, Barrymore and Grant both fall short of their scene-stealing reputations. Both seem to play overacted archetypes. Barrymore is overly childlike and awkward; while Grant’s usual sarcastic charm is piled on a bit too heavily, which gives the film a saccharine aftertaste. Additionally, the chemistry between Barrymore and Grant is akin to a flat can of soda. It’s sweet, but it has no punch.
Music & Lyrics does have its moments. Sophie’s sister (Kristen Johnston) gets a few laughs and Grant’s dance moves are almost worth the ticket price. Overall though, Music isn’t a chart topper.