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Movie Review: Music and Lyrics

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Music and Lyrics is the cinematic equivalent of a cupcake with pink frosting and multi-colored sprinkles. You know you probably shouldn’t eat it, or this case, see it, but you did when no one was looking, and it was oh-so-delectably good, how could it possibly be bad for you?

Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of Drew Barrymore. I usually like Hugh Grant in anything, too. Put them together, and what you get is this sugary sweet concoction of ridiculousness, and yet somehow, it really works. I hadn’t planned on seeing Music and Lyrics in the theater, but a female friend and I confided in each other that we both secretly wanted to see it, and so we dragged my reluctant husband to accompany us to a sold-out showing on Saturday night. It seemed we weren’t the only ones craving something of the cotton candy persuasion.

Hugh Grant plays Alex Fletcher, pretty much an amalgam of all the great (I realize this is subjective) former ‘80s pop stars. Imagine if Flock of Seagulls, Wham, Duran Duran, A-Ha, and Tears for Fears had a love child. Frightening, I know, but Alex Fletcher is the quintessential has-been, still clinging to the glory days of his past as a successful pop star, and yet also clamoring for a position in the present as a relevant musical force.

Just as he’s been given a second chance to write a song for a current pop diva named Cora (think Shakira fused with Hilary Duff, only younger and sluttier, if that’s possible), he meets Sophie Fisher, played by the always effervescent Drew Barrymore. She comes to his apartment to water his plants, and in true every-character-Drew-ever-plays fashion, accidentally and rather reluctantly charms her way into Alex’s life as his new songwriting partner.

Alex has never been good at writing lyrics; his forte is the melody. So when Sophie shows him it is indeed possible to rhyme “you and me” with “autopsy” in a love song, he coaxes her to help him write the next big song, which of course, will save his career from dwindling down further into the pit of pop culture despair, help her realize her talent, and hopefully, enable them both to find a way back into love, too.

The thing about Music and Lyrics is that like a pop song, it’s clever and catchy, and it seeps into your subconscious, whether you want it to or not. While a person might claim to hate contemporary pop music nowadays, chances are that person probably knows the words to many pop songs from decades come and gone. As a child of the ‘80s, I loved every second of Music and Lyrics, as it took me back to a time when it was acceptable to pine for Jordan Knight.

But what I loved the most about Music and Lyrics is that while it could’ve taken a turn for over-the-top cheesiness, as did Drew’s other ‘80s music movie The Wedding Singer, the dialog is quick and witty, and there are several laugh-out-loud moments. This isn’t a real comedic stretch for Hugh Grant, who gets to play his usual bumbling brand of humor. And as always, Drew Barrymore lights up the screen in that, to quote Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch, “adorable stroke victim” kind of way.

I left the theater feeling a little bit like I might go into diabetic shock, from all the saccharine sweetness, but truly, Music and Lyrics was a delightful break from the norm. Once in awhile, it’s refreshing to see a movie that just makes you feel good. Kind of like a licking a lollipop while listening to Kajagoogoo.

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About Jenifer Gonzales