Music and Lyrics

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Music and Lyrics
Music and lyrics.jpg
Original poster
Directed by Marc Lawrence
Produced by Martin Shafer
Liz Glotzer
Written by Marc Lawrence
Starring Hugh Grant
Drew Barrymore
Brad Garrett
Kristen Johnston
Campbell Scott
Music by Adam Schlesinger
Cinematography Xavier Pérez Grobet
Edited by Susan E. Morse
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • February 9, 2007 (2007-02-09) (United Kingdom)
  • February 14, 2007 (2007-02-14) (United States)[1]
Running time 96 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Box office $145,896,422[1]

Music and Lyrics is a 2007 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Marc Lawrence. It focuses on the relationship that evolves between a former pop music idol (of the fictional band PoP!, which is inspired by Wham![2] and Duran Duran[3][4][5]) and an aspiring writer as they struggle to compose a song for a reigning pop diva.

Plot[edit]

At the beginning of the film, Alex (Hugh Grant) is a washed-up former pop star who is attempting to revive his dwindling career by hitching his name to the rising star of Cora Corman (Haley Bennett), a young megastar who has asked him to write a song titled "Way Back Into Love." During an unsuccessful attempt to come up with words for the song, he discovers that the woman who is temporarily watering his plants, Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), has a gift for writing lyrics. Sophie, a former creative writing student reeling from a disastrous romance with her former English professor Sloan Cates (Campbell Scott), initially refuses. Alex cajoles her into helping him by using a few quickly-chosen phrases she has given him as the basis for a song. Over the next few days, they grow closer while writing the words and music together, much to the delight of Sophie's older sister Rhonda (Kristen Johnston), a huge fan of Alex's.

Sophie and Alex struggle with their song.

Barely meeting the deadline Cora has set for the song's delivery, Alex and Sophie are thrilled when she accepts it; however, at a celebratory dinner with Alex's manager Chris (Brad Garrett) Sophie is mortified to encounter Sloan. She confronts him but finds herself tongue-tied in his presence, and Alex's own attempts to defend her result in a scuffle. Nursing their wounds back at Alex's apartment, Alex and Sophie fall into an unplanned romantic encounter.

Sophie is later horrified when she finds Cora plans to record a sexy interpretation of "Way Back into Love," complete with an Indian vibe which she feels clashes with the romantic spirit of the song. She is determined to convince Cora to abandon the arrangement, but Alex vetoes her efforts for fear he will lose Cora's goodwill. In the ensuing argument, he admits Cora's version is awful but contends accepting it as the cost of doing business. Upset by Alex's willingness to demean his talent and extremely hurt by his argument that Sloan Cates was right about her personality, Sophie leaves him.

Sophie, intending to start a new life in Florida, reluctantly attends the opening of Cora's new tour at Madison Square Garden, at which Alex and Cora will debut "Way Back Into Love". Upon hearing that Alex is singing a new song "written by Alex Fletcher", Sophie is upset to believe that Alex is stealing credit for her work; however, the song Alex sings is called "Don't Write Me Off", his plea for Sophie to give him another chance. Touched, Sophie finds Alex backstage, and he confesses he convinced Cora to drop the risqué version of "Way Back into Love" in an attempt to win Sophie back. He and Cora perform the tune as he and Sophie intended it to be sung, and the two songwriters embrace in the wings.

The end of the movie (a homage to VH1's Pop-Up Video) reveals that the song becomes a hit for Cora and Alex, the film version of Sloan's novel flops with critics and moviegoers (ending his career), PoP! reunites for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where Colin winds up having his hip replaced after years of dancing, and Alex and Sophie go on to become successful partners, both in songwriting and romance.

Cast[edit]

(Grant, Bennett, and Barrymore all did their own singing in the film.)

Critical reception[edit]

Music and Lyrics received positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported 63% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 158 reviews, a fresh score,[6] while Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 59 out of 100, based on 30 reviews.[7]

A.O. Scott of The New York Times called the film "the type of modern Hollywood production that aspires to nothing more than the competent dispensing of mild amusement and easy emotion. The writer and director, Marc Lawrence ... shows some imagination as he parodies the music-video styles of various eras, and he contrives a bit of novelty in making the movie's central couple creative partners as well as potential lovers ... Mr. Grant is at his best when he allows a hard glint of caddish narcissism to peek through his easy flirtatiousness, something he did in About a Boy and American Dreamz. There is not quite enough of that here, nor enough of the anarchic loopiness that Ms. Barrymore brought to roles opposite Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates."[8]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle observed, "Writer-director Marc Lawrence makes a talk-heavy variety of romantic comedy that not everyone likes - Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice, Forces of Nature - but he does it well. Moreover, Music and Lyrics has virtues its predecessors lack. Scenes play out longer than in most films, and conversations have a chance to evolve. Also, because much of the film places the protagonists in rooms together, working for extended periods, there are an unusual number of two-person scenes, giving the actors the chance to show their charm, work off each other and develop the nuances of interaction ... Lawrence's take on pop music success is exactly right, satiric without being absurdist, and therefore a prize worth the effort."[9]

Todd McCarthy of the Variety said "Sitcommy in structure and execution, this very mainstream romance ... offers few surprises. But its pep, agreeable performances and appealing central conceit will profitably put this Warner Bros. Valentine's Day romantic comedy over with women and couples seeking a nice diversion ... Writer-director Marc Lawrence ... makes everything about three times more obvious than it needs to be; as a director, he needs to edit himself better as a writer ... But there's energy here, and the actors feed on it."[10]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian rated the film two out of five stars, calling it a "very moderate romcom" and adding, "Grant and Barrymore make a reasonable odd couple, and both have charm, but this never comes to life."[11]

Philip French of The Observer said, "Grant has the occasional good line (or at least he makes a few of them seem funny), but the film limps along like someone trying to tap dance in flippers."[12]

Box office[edit]

The film opened on February 9, 2007 in the United Kingdom and Ireland and ranked #1 at the box office, grossing £1.93 million in its first weekend. It was released on 2,955 screens in the United States and Canada on February 14 and grossed $13,623,630 on its opening weekend, ranking #4 at the box office[1] behind Ghost Rider, Bridge to Terabithia, and Norbit. It eventually grossed $50,572,589 in the US and Canada and $95,323,833 in foreign markets for a total worldwide box office of $145,896,422.[1]

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack album with several songs performed by Grant reached #5 on the Billboard Top Soundtracks Chart[13] and #63 on the Billboard 200.[14] Martin Fry of pop band ABC served as Grant's vocal coach for the movie.[15] The album also reached #93 on the Australian Albums Chart[16]

DVD release[edit]

Warner Home Video released the DVD in both anamorphic widescreen (ISBN 1-4198-4497-0) and fullscreen versions in the US, Canada, and US territories on May 8, 2007. Both feature audio tracks and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. Bonus features include deleted scenes, a gag reel, Note for Note: The Making of Music and Lyrics, and the music video PoP! Goes My Heart.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Music and Lyrics at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Music and Lyrics (2007)" Entertainment Weekly.
  3. ^ "Music and Lyrics". eFilmCritic.
  4. ^ ASIN B000M5B6Q0, Music and Lyrics [Soundtrack]
  5. ^ "Music And Lyrics". Wild About Movies.
  6. ^ Music and Lyrics at Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ^ Music and Lyrics at Metacritic
  8. ^ A.O. Scott (February 14, 2007). "Melodic Guy, Verbal Gal Meet Cute and Get Lyrical". The New York Times'. "Music and Lyrics, in contrast, is the type of modern Hollywood production that aspires to nothing more than the competent dispensing of mild amusement and easy emotion. The writer and director, Marc Lawrence ... shows some imagination as he parodies the music-video styles of various eras, and he contrives a bit of novelty in making the movie's central couple creative partners as well as potential lovers.
    Mr. Grant is at his best when he allows a hard glint of caddish narcissism to peek through his easy flirtatiousness, something he did in About a Boy and American Dreamz. There is not quite enough of that here, nor enough of the anarchic loopiness that Ms. Barrymore brought to roles opposite Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates."
     
  9. ^ Mick LaSalle (February 14, 2007). "When cute couple write pop songs, they may find love". San Francisco Chronicle. "Writer-director Marc Lawrence makes a talk-heavy variety of romantic comedy that not everyone likes -- Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice, Forces of Nature -- but he does it well. Moreover, Music and Lyrics has virtues its predecessors lack. Scenes play out longer than in most films, and conversations have a chance to evolve. Also, because much of the film places the protagonists in rooms together, working for extended periods, there are an unusual number of two-person scenes, giving the actors the chance to show their charm, work off each other and develop the nuances of interaction. ...
    Lawrence's take on pop music success is exactly right, satiric without being absurdist, and therefore a prize worth the effort."
     
  10. ^ Todd McCarthy (February 9, 2007). "Music and Lyrics". Variety. 
  11. ^ Peter Bradshaw (9 February 2007). "Music and Lyrics". The Guardian. 
  12. ^ Philip French (11 February 2007). "Music and Lyrics". The Observer. 
  13. ^ 2007 Billboard Top Soundtracks Chart Entry
  14. ^ 2007 Billboard 200 Chart Entry
  15. ^ "ABC's Fry Is Hugh Grant's New Vocal Coach". Billboard. 2006. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  16. ^ [1] ARIA Report 888. Retrieved 2012-03-09

External links[edit]