Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
|Featuring:||Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Johnston, Jason Antoon, Billy Griffith|
|Director:||Marc D. Lawrence|
|Producer:||Nancy Juvonen, Bruce Berman, Hal Gaba|
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Alex Porter (Hugh Grant) is a “has-been” rock star, the only remaining member from the 80’s band Pop. Now, a struggling musician who barely stays afloat performing Pop classics at county fairs, high school reunions and the small stages of amusement parks. It’s a moderate success for him, that he is more than happy to continue because, in his eyes, it’s all he deserves. His manager Chris (Brad Garrett), however, is running out of options for Alex as several venues have canceled his performances and the reality television shows pursuing Alex are less than career enhancing…
Just as Chris finally confesses the true bleakness of their situation, to Alex, there is hope—Hope in the form of Cora Corman. She is the IT star of this story. The omega superstar Diva, even referred to in the film as “bigger than both Christina and Brittany put together.” It seems that Cora was a big fan of Pop’s growing up, and is anxious to meet Alex. Reluctantly, Alex concedes, believing that it could lead to something that will help his aged career. It is at the meeting with Cora where the story truly begins. Alex is offered the opportunity of writing her next big song… The only problem? He isn’t a lyricist. He accepts the challenge anyway, having just a few days to write the “perfect” song, while also competing with several other “has beens” who are each trying to impress Cora with their own “perfect” song.
In his search for a lyricist who can corroborate with him successfully in such a short time, Alex stumbles across Sophie Fisher. (Drew Barrymore.) Sophie is his substitute plant care taker and secretly an insecure and defeated writer. Together they form a team, finding a lot more than either had expected, a long the way.
In an interview on “Regis and Kelly” recently, Drew Barrymore compared the wit and banter in “Music and Lyrics” to an old Cary Grant era film—Back when Hollywood focused more on the cleverness of the script rather than profanity inserts and sexual agenda. Although I was already slated to review this film, I will admit that the interview actually intrigued me all the more. Being a writer, the promise of clever dialogue is an incredibly appealing one. The script in this film is tight, and funny. I wouldn’t have considered it comparable to many of the films from that era, but I would have to agree that it comes closer than most of what we see these days. The characters are well portrayed by everyone involved. This isn’t a phenomenal movie. It’s sweet and cute, slightly endearing and fairly entertaining. It is, what I would deem a “renter,” and I don’t think that I could blame this on any one thing. The cast gives a solid effort, as we have come to expect from these actors. It has more genuine comedy than many comedy romances do, rather than slap-stick humor. In regards to most movies these days, this one is fairly “clean.” It just seems to lack something that I can’t pinpoint. Perhaps it is that both Alex and Sophie have a tragic story which inspires them to only strive for mediocre, and yet we never really feel their hopelessness. It’s all played off for some half-hearted chuckle, making the characters unrelatable and leaving audiences uninvolved and unattached.
The language is incredibly mild, except for one scene: A lyricist is trying to work with Alex and his lyrics are fairly dark, angry and profanity ridden. Other than that scene, the language is pretty mild—if not non existent.
Cora, a self proclaimed Buddhist, performs very sensually. Nearly every time we see her she is minimally clothed and gyrating some part of her body, if not writhing sexually on the ground. I took this as a sort of general imitation of the ridiculousness of the traditional pop-music diva. These scenes, though possibly offensive, are far less lust-inspiring and more laugh-inspiring because it comes across as so absurd.
Sophie and Alex do sleep together, but this is only something the audience is made aware of. No part of the scene, (beginning or end) is shown—the film simply cuts to the next morning.
There is a very small fight between Alex and a man from Sophie’s past, in a restaurant. This too, is very minimal.
Though not a deep film, there are a few “deeper” subject matters. Both Sophie and Alex were betrayed by someone they trusted. Both of them suffer from insecurities stemming from these betrayals. They each offer one another the gift of understanding and friendship. The necessity for honesty is stated, and key here. I think that the relationship between the two of them is a good example about how to be honest with the people you care about. Their story is also a good one to relate to in regards to insecurities and selling ourselves short. Due to the rating and advertising, this movie is likely to appeal to a wide range of teens and the details of the storyline would be great opportunities for talking with your teens about these subjects, if they have seen it.
Overall, it’s an OK movie. The 80’s references are funny and not constant, so audiences won’t likely tire of them. The dialogue is entertaining, and there are many laughs throughout. It isn’t anything thought-provoking, convicting or brilliant, but it also doesn’t pretend to be. It’s fairly clean, its story focuses on positive things (their sexual relationship taking an almost nonexistent back seat to the rest of the story), and, overall, not a waste of my matinee ticket price. Regardless of where you see it, be it the theater or in your living room on DVD, make sure to stay tuned through the beginning of the credits. There are a few extra laughs brought to you in the manner of a VH1 “pop up video” show.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
I want to thank Holly B. for her comments that stopped me from renting this movie for my husband I to watch. Sounds like we would have been in the same situation you found yourself in at the theater. We wait till everything comes out on video for this very reason. It is very sad as to where our moral values are heading when so many people find this type of film acceptable. I read from one viewer the statement “we are what we watch” it is true once it is there it can’t be erased. With so many men addicted to porn without their wives knowledge it’s a wonder why? when so called Christian couples view these films and feel that they are innocent. Hear is a word of advice from someone that knows, there is nothing innocent about the exploitation of women sexually to satisfy the lusts of the man’s mind. Innocent women, girls, and children are harmed in every aspect.
—Shawna, age 42