Retro Review: Music & Lyrics

Ah, yes!

The stylish beats, big hair, tight jeans and polyester jackets of the 1980s. We all remember them well. Well, those who aren’t embarrassed and admit that they once danced to Rick Astley and hummed along with Wham!

I remember the 1980s really well and yes to this day I still love listening to 80s flashback songs and my Pet Shop Boys anthology is still a favorite. Anyways enough about me, we are here to talk about the new movie “Music & Lyrics” starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.

The film takes place in modern day as forgotten 80s pop star Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) had been literally forgotten. But recently his work with the 80s supergroup Pop! has seen a resurgence and he is doing a lot of remembering the 80s styled events. But when he is offered a version “Celebrity Boxing” as his next career move he starts wonder about his future. His manager (Brad Garrett) offers him a chance at a comeback when superstar and current pop icon Cora (Haley Bennett) requests that Fletcher write her a new song.

Fletcher begins work but he really doesn’t get any inspiration until he hears his new scatter-brained plant lady Sophie (Drew Barrymore) add a few lyrics to a rough cut of his new melody. Fletcher has found his muse and his new lyricist. Can they produce a decent tune in time? Can Fletcher overcome his insecurities and find a new path in life?

What makes for a good romantic comedy? Well for me that is a very difficult question to answer. I am not overly fond of the genre only because it has been done to death. If I have to say what makes for a good one it is probably two things. One chemistry between the stars and secondly there has to be a story more than just boy meets girl, they fight, boy loses girl and then boy makes giant romantic gesture to win girl back.

“Music & Lyrics” forgets the formula for two thirds of the film and it is quite pleasant. Grant and Barrymore have great chemistry and the film is more about the project. I was actually quite involved with the film during that portion. Then I started to notice the clichés crawling back onto the screen. I wanted to hit those cliches with a giant Nerf bat so that they wouldn’t harm such a cute little story but my valiant effort wasn’t strong enough. Sugar-coated clichés ran rampant and I became queasy.

I really like Grant and Barrymore and it was really enjoyable seeing them swell in their own moments. I also liked that they sang themselves instead of lip-synching. That’s what I gather but I can’t really say for sure. Grant really does have a good voice.
“Music & Lyrics” was a pleasant surprise except for the film’s third act.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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