Starring: Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Brad Garrett
Director: Marc Lawrence
Running Time: 104 mins
Music And Lyrics is an American film about a washed-up singer from the 1980s who joins forces with a young woman with an unexpected talent for writing song lyrics, as they seek to make a song for a hit young pop star that might rejuvenate the has-been’s career.
Though it’s fair to say that Music And Lyrics isn’t entirely the generic Hugh Grant romantic comedy that you might be used to, it’s still a largely bland and predictable affair. Despite likable if not simplistic performances from its two leads, the movie really struggles to endear itself at any point, resting on a collection of shallow and uninteresting genre tropes that do little to make it either a fun or heartfelt watch.
If you’re a fan of a cheesy, easy-going rom-com, then I’m sure you’ll like Music And Lyrics. There are far better romantic comedies out there, but this is the sort of movie that’s so predictable and follows such a familiar formula that you can follow it and enjoy it without even thinking.
Now, pleasant fluffiness aside, there really isn’t much else about Music And Lyrics that is particularly enjoyable. On the plus side, its two leads in Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore are fairly likable, and work well enough together, although don’t quite the romantic spark that would make the story a little more interesting.
The movie tries hard to stay away from making the pair fall in love too quickly, and although it’s an admirable idea, there’s nothing really there to replace it. You’ve got a fairly inconsequential story about a has-been music star trying to rekindle his former glory, and an equally uninteresting young woman who almost out of nowhere comes in to save the day.
It’s a shame, because both of the characters are a lot more enjoyable than most romantic comedies would make them, there’s just very little depth to them. The film tries to make use of quirky, pseudo-intellectual dialogue to give both a bit of persona, but it comes off as lazy and generally unconvincing, doing little to add to the intrigue of their romance.
Meanwhile, the unnecessarily large collection of supporting players, all of whose connection to the lead characters is way too convoluted for a movie as simplistic as this, makes Music And Lyrics a far messier film than should have been the case.
It’s fluffy and easy-going, and there really shouldn’t be much more to it than that. I might criticise the movie for being too simplistic and having little depth, but going the other way and trying too hard to be clever is arguably even worse, and makes for an even more boring watch.
There’s no real emotion here, and very little effort put into uniting the power of music and love in the way that films like Begin Again manage. Sure, Music And Lyrics is a lightweight, fluffy movie, but there are far better ones out there to spend your time with, so that’s why I’m giving it a 6.2 overall.