Making the Grades
Taking on roles in the romantic comedy Music and Lyrics isn't a stretch for either of this film's leading actors. Even with evident age lines, High Grant relies on the same self-effacing charm he has built his career on. Likewise, Drew Barrymore bounces on to the screen with the bubbly-to-a-fault persona she's portrayed before in films like Fever Pitch and 50 First Dates. But it remains to be seen if the couple can pull off a believable romance despite their obvious age disparity.
For Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant), resuscitating his singing career from the entertainment morgue looks like a long shot. He once topped the pop charts as a pelvis-thrusting member of a 1980's boy band but now he's lucky just to get a gig at 20-year high school reunions, state fairs and amusement park sideshows.
Then the stars of fate line up in his favor when Cora (Haley Bennett), the current teen diva, wants him to write a new hit song for her. Given only days to compose lyrics and a catchy melody, Alex desperately looks for a collaboration partner. It's about then that Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore) stumbles into his apartment. The rather ditzy blonde (who was only seven-years-old when Alex made musical history) has agreed to take care of his houseplants while the regular watering girl is away. As the anxious musician incessantly plunks away at the keyboard searching for a tune, Sophie begins mindlessly mumbling some words to the notes and thus is born the writing team of Fletcher and Fisher.
While success initially seems certain, the duo's creative integrity is challenged when Cora transposes the sentimental love song into a bawdy, Indie-inspired chant choreographed with erotic body movements and sexual simulations. Although Alex is ready to sell the duet to anyone with a quick buck, the budding lyricist is intent on maintaining some control over the twosome's work. The divergent attitudes cause not only a rift in their work relationship but also in the growing attraction they share.
Poking fun at the musical sensations of the 1980s, the film will have little appeal to a generation who didn't grow up with performing groups like the Bee Gees, ABBA or Air Supply, who's musical heydays have come and gone. But parents will probably be glad for the indifference. As with so many entries in this genre, the scriptwriters seem convinced that romance can't blossom without a couple hopping into bed (even though the scene does little to convince viewers the nocturnal activity has done anything to cement Alex and Sophie's relationship). There are also plenty of cleavage-baring outfits and skimpy dance costumes from the wardrobe department.
For adults, the screenplay offers some amusing lines and laughs, yet it seems to have a hard time maintaining the pace for the nearly two hour long duration. And with so much provocative posturing, most parents will likely find this film hits a sour note when it comes to family entertainment.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Music and Lyrics.
Both Sophie and Alex are encumbered by incidents from their past. What things hold Sophie back from achieving her goals? What keeps Alex from success? How do they help each other face those barriers?
Although Alex fails to attract the attention of today’s teenagers, he has an avid following among their mothers. Do your musical tastes vary from your parents? How about your grandparents’ generation? Are there any artists you all enjoy?