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Music and Lyrics

Music and Lyrics

Director:Marc Lawrence
Release Date:2007
Genre:Romantic Comedy

Opens Feb. 16

By Cole Haddon | Posted 2/14/2007

Hugh Grant has not hidden the fact that he's sick of being an actor. He's even "quit" a few times, which hasn't really stuck. That might be why he agreed to reunite with Two Weeks Notice director Marc Lawrence for Music and Lyrics: Hugh Grant is trying to destroy the career he doesn't have the courage to end.

The premise is charming enough, especially since Grant plays has-been 1980s pop star Alex Fletcher, the less-famous, unrecognizable half of Pop!--basically Andrew Ridgeley, the less-famous, unrecognizable half of Wham! The now-anonymous Fletcher asks Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), a failed novelist-turned-plant baby sitter, to help him write a ballad for a pop star, and they come together as he rediscovers his passion for his, you know, art. And that's it--this setup is supposed to be fun enough that you overlook the overall lack of storytelling.

It isn't. Director Lawrence didn't even bother to include any real conflict until two-thirds of the way through the movie. Even then, it's phoned in: Fisher's sister Rhonda (Kristen Johnston) explains what love is, and in doing so suggests how Fletcher, if he ever screws up--which he, of course, does--could win Sophie back.

There isn't even the pretense of drama or comedy here, and the burden of making anything work falls on Grant, whose charisma and comic timing bears the weight as long as it can before his obvious disinterest in the material leaves him delivering lines without his usual smug smirk. Even Barrymore is a misstep, since she has absolutely no chemistry with Grant. None. Non-English speakers watching Music and Lyrics on mute probably assume Grant and Barrymore are platonic co-workers of some kind--anything but potential lovers.

Barrymore, who has never had a history of choosing great roles or even being an especially good actress, can't be held accountable for opting to play a mildly retarded version of her Never Been Kissed character. Grant, though, is a good actor. And the fact that Music and Lyrics is his fifth sub-par movie since About a Boy--the movie Grant cites as his crowning acting achievement--is all the proof you need to see that this line of work no longer matters to him.

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