Music and Lyrics DVD: Review By Brian Gallagher

A nice pair of performances from Hugh and Drew, along with some nice supporting work and a solid story.
  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
A nice pair of performances from Hugh and Drew, along with some nice supporting work and a solid story.
THE BAD
The whole set-up of the movie seems just odd and the deleted scenes are worthless.
THE FEATURE
This was a movie I had never really planned on seeing. Sure, I like Hugh Grant as much as the next guy, and next six girls, and I own a few of his movies. OK, one movie (See: About a Boy), but still... I never really planned on seeing it. The trailer led me to believe it would be another syrupy boy-meets-girl tale set against the backdrop of the hectic music business. Well, it is a boy-meets-girl thing and there is the whole music thing, but it isn't nearly as syrupy as I thought. It's actually quite funny, quite sweet and quite a good movie.

The movie starts off with a faux music video by an 80s band called Pop, that was obviously supposed to be on some VH1 special, with the little pop-up boxes appearing all over the video. The group is an obvious play on the group Wham! that featured George Michael, who went on to be famous, and some other guy whose name has and will forever escape me. In the Pop band, Alex Fletcher (Grant) was the guy whose name escapes everyone and who gets shafted from fame while his former partner becomes rich and famous. Alex, meanwhile, resorts to playing high school reunions, state fairs and carnivals, anything that will get him a buck for his long spent 15 minutes of fame. Then one silly day his manager Chris (Brad Garrett) finds out that the biggest star in the world, Cora Corman (newcomer Haley Bennett) was a huge fan of Pop and wants Alex to write a song for her, a duet that will heal her aching heart from a two-month relationship that just ended. So, Alex is back on the track to fame right? Wrong. While Alex is a melodic master, words are not his forte. So, while enlisting the help of a lyricist, the girl who has been watering his plants, Sophie (Drew Barrymore) just happens to spout out some lyrics randomly and, in an odd set of events, ends up working on this song for Cora Corman... that, by the way, needs to be done in a few days. What follows is quirky tale of love and sorrow, fame and tragedy and the murky line that crosses them all.

While these events all seem to be set in way WAY too random of a motion, everything else seems quite realistic in how the events take place. I'm not too familiar with writer-director Marc Lawrence's work (See: Two Weeks Notice, Miss Congeniality), mainly because I don't have a girlfriend and don't really care for these types of movies. But in this one he gives us a nice simple boy/girl story while touching on the absurdity of celebrity and the showbiz industry, and how it can all go awry and, eventually, how it can all come back.

Hugh and Drew are a great pair on the screen and, even though Hugh has the tendancy to look annoyingly constipated whenever he's not in rock-star mode, they both deliver solid performances. We get some nice supporting work as well from Brad Garrett and Kristen Johnston, although they really don't get a lot of screen time, even though it's much more time than Campbell Scott gets for a tiny bit part as an author who had a past with Sophie. I was rather impressed by young Haley Bennett who plays huge pop star Cora Corman. This is her first acting gig ever and she's quite impressive, displaying the insane tendencies that we've come to expect from celebrities quite nicely.

Marc Lawrence gives us a solid script and direction here, but it seems he almost went a little overboard with character development. The whole deal with Sophie's past with the author, leading into her nervousness about writing and this whole neurotic deal can be annoying and feels like contrived conflict just there because it has to be there. I wish they would've gotten more conflict from Bennett's Cora Corman, having her change the song constantly and such, because that would've seemed more realistic and less manufactured. There is weird past with Alex Fletcher as well and both of their problems seem rather trite. Still, these are rather minor problems that don't take a whole lot away from the film. His script seems to be structured a tad oddly, actually, with a few false endings and semi-surprising developments that keep you on your toes throughout the movie.

Music and Lyrics is a movie I had never expected to see unless I wandered into a sorority house or somehow managed to hypnotize a girl into a date. While neither was the case in my viewing of this movie, I ended up not regretting it all, and it's a fine movie that plays at the heartstrings of everyone.
THE EXTRAS
First up we get some Deleted Scenes. They are 11 minutes long and there isn't a single one worth watching, really. It actually makes me want to praise the editor and the director for plucking these parts out of the film. Kudos.

A Gag Reel is up next and it's a cute little glimpse into some minor mistakes along the way. It's only about four and a half minutes long, but it's worth killing some time for.

Next is a making-of featurette dubbed Note for Note: The Making of Music and Lyrics. It's a nice 12 minute feature with little interview snippets from Grant, Barrymore, Kristen Johnston, Brad Garrett, Haley Bennett, writer-director Marc Lawrence and others, all talking about their experiences on the set and how much they loved the movie and such. It's a nice look at the stars and their thoughts on the movie but, really, it seems that once you've seen one of these things, you've seen them all.

Lastly, we have the full Pop! Goes My Heart Music Video. It's quite amazing how accurate they were with this "80s" video...
THE VIDEO
The movie is presented in the widescreen format, enhanced for 16x9 widescreen televisions.
THE AUDIO
The sound is handled through the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound format.
THE PACKAGE
Nothing fancy here. The whole front cover is a cute little shot of Hugh and Drew sitting at the piano, smiling and crap, with the title card and a critics quote above and below them. The back has two random shots, another critic quote, a decent synopsis with another large shot of Hugh swooning the crowd, a special features box along with the billing block and tech specs. Nothing eye-poppping here.
THE FINAL WORD
Music and Lyrics is both what I expected to see and a lot of what I didn't expect to see. It's a fine romantic comedy with enough for both the chicks and the dudes to enjoy.

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