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“Music & Lyrics” Review = Another Ho-Hum Romantic Film February 8, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Movie Reviews, Movies, Music & Lyrics, Photos.

So I went to watch the movie today. And when the movie started, the first thing they show is a music video from the supposed pop group that Hugh Grant‘s character, Alex Fletcher, belonged to before they broke up in the movie.

Music & Lyrics Poster

Yeeelchhh. Imagine the Drowmage cringing and trying very hard not to smack her head many many times during the rendition of the oh-so-Duran Duran/NKOTB songs. Here’s a trailer for the movie, so you know what I’m talking about.

Music & Lyrics Trailer

Ok, so back to the review…

The movie is about a washed-up ’80s has-been singer, Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) who is struggling as a performer now. He sings at the fair and at whatever weird shows his manager can book him for, and his fans are women who seem to be stuck in the past and in their mid-40s. His chance to get himself out of this rathole of being a one-hit wonder comes in the form of Cora (Haley Bennett), who is “bigger than Britney and Christina put together”, when he is asked to come up with a song for her to perform with him in a duet. The problem? He’s crap at lyrics, and has less than a week to come up with the song, and with the best lyrics or else he’ll get shelved into the dark hole of has-been singers. When he overhears his plant lady (who the hell has a plant lady anyway?), Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), who is a great lyricist and he convinces her to write the lyrics, while he writes the song, for Cora. And what follows is the usual cliche fare of all romantic comedies with a happy ending. Yay.

The last time I heard songs from the ’80s, was when I was in sixth grade and listening to “New Kids On the Block” and “Tommy Page” (I know! I know! Stop cringing!) In any case, when I heard the first few lines from Hugh Grant singing “Pop Goes My Heart”, I had enough goosebumps to last me a lifetime. The song and the music was sooo fracking cheesy – as it was meant to be according to the prod notes I read, but still…. I think they’ve hit an all new low with this. Hugh Grant looks so old in the movie, and so damn haggard (40s is the new look, perhaps?). I read that he had to undergo professional training to sing and dance in this movie. If that’s the best he could come up with, well, in the words of Simon Cowell, “You can’t sing; you can’t dance; so what do you want me to say?”

Drew Barrymore is more toned-down here, compared to her last few comedies. I don’t know, her jokes and her acting seemed almost too… autonomous (is that even a word?) and just boring. I saw her on Saturday Night Live acting as Olive from “Little Miss Sunshine” on a parody called “The Dakota Fanning Show” with Amy Poehler, now THAT was funny. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check it out here.

Brad Garrett is just too funny as Fletcher’s manager, Chris. Do you love “Everybody Loves Raymond“? I do. Again, Brad displays that funny, sarcastic, dead-panned humour we’re used to seeing in “Raymond” and “Gleason“. Also, I definitely give props to Kristen Johnston in her role as Sophie’s sister, Rhonda. Yes, she’s re-enacting her usual style we know and love from “Third Rock From the Sun”, but that’s why she’s such a funny female comedian! (Want to see more of the hilarious Kristen? Try getting ahold of Episode 18, Season 6 of “Sex and the City”, titled “Splat!”)

The movie is ok. It’s not the funniest I’ve seen, and in terms of romantic comedies, movies like “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” still sit on top of my fav list. The problem with “M&L” is that the story doesn’t hold you. It relies on cute song lyrics, the poke-fun at cheesy has-been musicians moments, and the dry wit of Hugh Grant’s English humour. And that’s about it. There’s no connection between Alex and Sophie the way the director wants you to believe – yes, there’s sort of a playful banter going on between them, and yes, there’s an underlying hint of flirtation going on between them. But there’s no CHEMISTRY. You don’t feel drawn in, and you know it’s so damn cliche when you actually sit and wait for the two characters to kiss and sleep together, because that ultimate ‘romantic climax’ happens in every fracking romantic comedy known to mankind.

The music is.. ho-hum. Believe it or not, the theme song (no, not that atrocious “Pop” song) Way Back Into Love was written by the same guy who wrote That Thing You Do from the movie of the same name, Adam Schlesinger. I don’t think he’ll be getting any nominations for his mediocre composition here.

Apart from it’s mediocre performance, and so-so music and ho-hum storyline, I have a MAJOR gripe. Cora, the singer, appears in the finale at her show, stepping out of a large Buddha statue, dressed like a skank (very Britney), and gyrating with the back-up male dancers wearing monk robes. All this in front of the statue. If that’s not a complete insult to Buddhism, I don’t know what else is, but it was done with a very bad taste. The movie tries to redeem itself for its ignorance by having Hugh Grant/Alex Fletcher mention that Cora/Haley Bennett thought that the Dalai Lama was a real llama, so hence the ignorance at the usage of a religious statue in a concert.

I wish I could get that damn song out of my head. I’ll leave you with the music… and the lyrics…

I said I wasn’t gonna lose my head
But then PoP! goes my heart
I wasn’t gonna fall in love again
But then PoP! Goes my heart
And I just can’t let you go
I can’t lose this feeling

Drew and Hugh

Drowmage rants : I want to put more pictures, but am too lazy to google them. Updates soon to come.

The Drowmage Rates this at : 3 Stars

Update : Here are the pictures – if you want to use them, email me and ask for permission, then I will check with the powers-that-be. I don’t operate this blog for profit, so I get nothing out of posting these pics and reviews here.

Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) looks a bit old and dry eh?

A scene with Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore)

Cora Corman (Haley Bennett)

Rhonda Fisher (Kristen Johnston)

Pop Goes the Weasel… I mean, My Heart….

Update 1st March: I don’t know why I even bothered, but seeing the amount of hits on this site from people just looking for the music video for “Pop! Goes My Heart”, well, here’s what I found on YouTube…