Hugh Grant plays Alex Fletcher, whose claim to fame is being in an 80s pop group named PoP. Some twenty years later, he is a washed-up musician who generates income by performing at high school reunions, state fairs, and amusement parks to his menopausal fans. It’s a decent gig, but his agent (Brad Garrett) hooks up the has-been with a chance for a comeback. It just happens that popstar Cora Corman (Haley Bennett), described as “bigger than Britney and Cristina put together,” wants Alex to write and perform a duet song for her upcoming album. The catch: he must write it in less than a week. Alex scrambles to get the job done, even if he has not written a song in more than a decade. Luckily, he finds a natural lyricist in Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), the woman who waters his plants. They make a great team, but are they able to compose a great song to Cora’s liking? Hmmmmmm [Cue the Jeopardy theme]

Music and Lyrics is an accomplished little movie. Hugh Grant, at his comedic best, tickles with witty one-liners. And to boot, the man is game to bust some 80s moves. Drew Barrymore, as the insecure Sophie, is amusing too. She can talk absentmindedly and drown a plant in the process. Together, they make an adorable pair and the movie is smart to be patient in nurturing the romance, going by the speed of their song collaboration. And yes, it’s about time we get a romcom where a couple work together, rather than compete in childish games. It’s a refreshing change and it makes you root for the couple more.

The teamwork also gives us a lovely depiction of the creative process at work. Songwriting hasn’t been this exciting since Hustle and Flow. I would not be surprised if you would want to write some songs afterwards. Glad, I have a rhyming dictionary handy for these urges. I hope that the Academy would nominate some of the catchy pop songs in the movie’s soundtrack. The music is by Adam Schlesinger (of “Fountains of Wayne” fame) and he’s also responsible for the fantastic song in That Thing You Do!

I’d describe the film as low-key. It might be sweet and endearing, but it also doesn’t aspire for greatness. Most of the time, the plot looks tame and predictable. There are comedy set-ups that might get mild chuckles, but never big laughs. This isn’t really a movie where you follow the plot. You stick around to follow the characters. And by the end of the movie, it is the catchy tunes that will follow you home.

Grade: B+

Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Brad Garrett, Kristen Johnston, Campbell Scott, and Haley Bennett
Screenplay by
Marc Lawrence
Directed by
Marc Lawrence
Rated PG-13 for some sexual content