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Movie Review

Music and Lyrics

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Genre:
Romance, Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
February 14, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

Music in the Bible

What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
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 Bad:

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.

The Good:

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.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I don’t usually go to “chick flicks,” but I was drawn to see this movie, and found it to be very enjoyable. I especially liked the banter between the two main characters, played by Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. Unlike dialogue in other movies that is saturated with crude humor, sex, and profanity, this movie was refreshingly easy on the ears. Hugh is witty and funny, and I found myself laughing and smiling throughout the movie.

Sure, it won’t become a classic, but it does provide some good and mostly wholesome entertainment. Of course, I did not like that the characters had sex before marriage, but at least that scene was not long or graphic. One thing missing was the obligatory gay couple found in most Hollywood movies today, which was a refreshing change. The MTV style video of a 80’s pop band was also fun.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Lynn, age 43
Positive—I am surprised that I liked this movie as much as I did. I thought it was going to be another so-so chic flic to pass the time. But I found myself caught up in the characters and how they related to eachother. The story was cute and the dialogue was smart. The reference to 80’s Pop Music is so on-the-nose. The theater was laughing together within the first few minutes of the film as Hugh Grant portrayed this has-been icon from the mid-eighties. Of course, it’s PG-13 for a reason… but nothing more than you would find in Drew Barrymore's other campy films. If you enjoyed “The Wedding Singer,” “Never Been Kissed,” and “Fever Pitch,” then you’ll enjoy this film.
My Ratings: Average / 3½
—Diana O, age 38
Positive—I love Drew Barrymore, and I am a product of the 80’s, so naturally, I couldn’t wait to see this movie. I always check your site before I see any movie, but when I checked it was too early and there was no review yet. I decided to go anyway, and I took my 14 year old daughter and her friend. I am pretty picky about the movies I allow her to see, but I felt for the most part that this was a harmless, cute movie. I always cringe when the couple has to sleep together, even if they don’t show it. My daughter knows that is not God’s way. Anyone who lives in this day and age is going to encounter that in their lives. It was an opportunity to reinforce our family’s values with her. I also didn’t care for the Buddhist song and statue and felt they could have done without that and Cora’s sexy attire. Again, I feel that it is a parents responsibility to teach their children the values they want them to have, this culture surrounds them with sex and we really can’t shelter them from it. I took it as the writer going to an extreem to make a point that the teen idols today are out of control. All our kids have to do is stand in the checkout isle of any grocery store and they will see Brittney Spears and many others with everything exposed. So overall I thought it was a sweet, feel good movie that made me laugh. My daughter and her friend are still singing “Pop Goes My Heart” and that is priceless to me that she, and I connected on something from my generation!
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Julie, age 38
Positive—My wife and I saw this movie, and we loved it. We were high-schoolers in the 80’s. All of the mimicry of the 80’s music videos was extremely funny as well as contrasting the 80’s pop stars with the current day divas is really funny. The teen queen singer, “Cora” is an over-the-top performer and I think the movie does a good job of mocking today’s young teen queens and their over-hyped performances. I completely agree with the reviewer regarding those scenes with Cora, they weren’t “lust”able scenes as much as laughable scenes. The movie helps point out the absurdity of many of today’s young vocalists and their wacky beliefs and motivations. There was very little sex and profanity (if any). The dialogue was believable and funny. And I wasn’t contantly looking at my watch like I have in recent romantic comedies.

In the end, the movie’s just the kind of enjoyably empty-headed fluff it celebrates and mocks. It passes as a corny and witty diversion. We thought it was worth the price of admission and I still laugh at the 80’s video they created.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Dan D, age 38
Positive—You can’t go too far wrong with these actors. Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant are a great romantic match in this movie. The plot includes loose sexual orality, but it is fairly tame by Hollywood standards. Drew goes far enouh to please teen guys' horomes, but not so far as to offend the average Christian. As in all love stories, there are bumps along the way, but a satisfactory finish that will please the ladies especially. It is funny and well written. I had some trepidation, expection a modern amoral rock and roll emphasis, that might rub me the wrong way. I was pleasantly surprised. Good music. Good fun. A nice romantic story line. I recommend this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Michael Pilecki, age 57
Neutral
Neutral—This is not a bad movie. It’s actually quite a nice story, except for the dreadful current morality, or rather immorality, that there’s nothing wrong with having intercourse with someone who is almost a stranger, and with whom there is not a speck of commitment. Apart from this egregious reflection of today’s sexual behavior, the film does a good job of showing the makings of friendship between two people who need someone to appreciate their particular talents and who end up helping each other. It works for me. Drew Barrymore is proving to be an excellent actress and carries the movie. I enjoyed it. I just wish it had a bit more to offer.
My Ratings: Average / 4
Halyna Barannik, age 60
Neutral—This is a light hearted movie, fairly entertaining and surprisingly clean. Yes, it is stated that the main characters sleep together (though the audience doesn’t see any of this), and one of the singers is extremely scantilly clad and dances very provocatively. Other than that, it’s cleaner than most movies with a PG-13 rating. All that said, it was cute but predictable and worth renting when it comes out on DVD.
My Ratings: Average / 2½
—R. Smotherman, age 33
Neutral—This movie was good and funny during some parts of the movie. The only thing I was confused by is why the exotic dancing at the beginning??? It doesn’t make any sense for 1 thing, and it’s weird. Hugh Grant acted great, Drew Barrymore was somewhat over protective when she said she needed surgery for touching a cactus. Brad Garrett was hilarious. Overall, this film was pretty good except for the dancing.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Brandon, age 24
Negative
Negative—This COULD have been a very cute movie, but there is way more hyped-up sexuality than the review makes known. “Cora” the young pop-star spends a lot of time prancing around the stage practically naked, which for people who are sensitive to pornography, will find very disturbing. In one scene, she is only covered by a piece of black leather that covers ONLY her “female parts.” My husband and I wanted to see a cute “date-night” movie; he missed about half of it because he had to turn his eyes away, and I left the theatre feeling sick.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Holly B, age 23

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

Negative—I am a fan of Drew as well as Hugh normally, and the plot that had to do with their relationship was very enjoyable, which was the majority of the film. The reason I chose negative/offensive was due to the film’s finale. At a packed concert, Cora the teenage Buddhist entered the stage from a 25-foot idol. The crowd went wild. Semi-naked, she danced with a guy in a sexual manner. It seemed like I was watching a scene out of the Old Testament when the temple had been desecrated and temple prostitutes were common. I know our country has its own idols we’ve struggled with—shopping, cars, etc. But to see an actual idol, and it be considered acceptable was disturbing. I was disappointed because it had nothing to do with thew main plot, which was a funny and sweet romantic comedy. The friend I was with felt like she had to pray the “feeling of the movie off her.” The spiritual/sexual overtones throughout the movie were intended to be funny and silly, yet with the ending, the director’s motives appear to be to normalize (un)spiritual and sexual experiences.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Abbi Walker, age 28
Comments from young people
Positive—This is an adorable movie! I have already seen it three times and will probably see it again. The music is catchy and well-sung, the script includes one-liners that keep everyone laughing, the characters are likeable, and there is not as much objectionable content as we have come to expect from movies these days. Our hero and heroine are mostly of good character, but the filmmakers just “had” to throw in what has become requisite sex before marriage (though nothing is shown, we are not given the option of believing our protagonists drew the line).

And though Cora’s dancing is what one character calls a “confident sexual display” and inspired my mother to say, “Don’t EVER let ANYBODY dance with you like that!”, it is clearly meant to mock our culture. It’s not just a chick-flick; my grandfather, father and older brothers also enjoyed this movie. With just a few changes, the film could have easily made a PG rating. Despite some flaws, “Music and Lyrics” is very enjoyable and cute entertainment.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Kendall, age 14
Neutral—…I must say that they did “somewhat” warn us about the pop singer Cora, but they said that her inappropriate behaviour was more laugh inspiring than blush creating… not true in the least! My mom and I watched this togther, thinking that it was safe enough for us to enjoy and laugh along with… it was… until the infamous pop “idol” showed up… then everything went down hil,l and I found myself constantly saying things like, 'that’s WAY over the top', her outfits were revealing in every way, her lyrics were horrible, her dance moves made me want to gag… I don’t recomend you watch this with your teens, it will just make EVERYONE uncomfortable.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
—Rebecca, age 16