Melody Rising

Azka Khan

Music and Lyrics casts Barrymore and Grants into an enjoyable romance

It started with a music video that could have easily graced MTV in the late ’80s. The bubblegum melody of “Pop, Goes My Heart” was hard to ignore, but even harder to ignore was Hugh Grant’s mullet and extremely tight pants.

In Music and Lyrics, Hugh Grant plays Alex Fletcher, the member of a forgotten ’80s band named PoP. The group fell apart in the early ’90s, when Alex’s best friend and bandmate, Colin, let fame get to his head. Colin went on to have huge success as a solo artist, but Alex’s solo album only sold 6,000 copies, and most of those were bought by his mother.

Alex’s singing career was restricted to high school reunions and state fairs until his manager Chris Riley (“Everybody Love Raymond”‘s Brad Garrett) offers him the opportunity to write a song for Cora Corman (newcomer Haley Bennett), the “it” singer who is “bigger than Britney and Christina put together.” He has only a few days to write the song, which must be titled “Way Back into Love.” Of course, there is one slight problem: Alex does not know how to write lyrics.

Enter Drew Barrymore as Sophie Fisher, Alex’s quirky, insecure plant lady who turns out to have a way with words. Sophie is reluctant to work with Alex, but, following the law of the romantic comedy, she eventually agrees.

Alex and Sophie make a great team and are able to write a beautiful song together. Yet, they have complicated the relationship between them and have learned too much from each other to just walk away. This is when the classic boy-must-get-girl-back scenario takes place.

Saying too much about what Alex does to get Sophie back would ruin the movie in more ways than one. The most that can be said is that Grant does actually sing seven songs in the movie. Don’t cringe. It is a pleasant surprise because, believe it or not, Grant has an almost Sinatra-like quality to his voice.

Director Marc Lawrence, who directed Two Weeks Notice, also starring Grant, closely follows the conventional rules of romantic comedies, but the script is original and it surprises on more than one occasion.

The comedy is not forced and the down-to-earth chemistry between Grant and Barrymore is believable. The secondary characters of the film also have some truly unforgettable moments.

You will find yourself humming the music in the theater and some of the lyrics will get stuck in your head — as will the image of Grant in tight pants.

Contact ALL reporter Azka Khan at [email protected].