This just in: Hugh Grant stars in yet another formulaic romantic comedy. Having polished his shtick in such films as Nine Months, Notting Hill and Two Weeks Notice, I’m betting Grant barely had to pay attention on the set of Music and Lyrics.
Rom-com fans will find Grant’s turn with lovable Drew Barrymore (Fever Pitch) more than palatable, I’m sure. Heck, I enjoyed Music and Lyrics, in the way one appreciates the occasional handful of those tiny marshmallows in a mu… of warm cocoa. The film is absolutely formulaic, but it succeeds moderately thanks to the good on-screen chemistry of its star-blessed lovers.
Grant plays Alex Fletcher, a has-been pop star who’s been riding a mediocre wave of fame left over from the 80’s. The problem is, 20 years after his last big hit, even gigs at venues like small-time amusement parks are becoming a tough sell. Lucky for him, just when things are looking down his manager (Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond) scores him a chance to perform with Cora, a mega-star cross between Christina and Madonna. The catch? He has to write a new song for the occasion or no dice, and he only has five days to get the job done. It’s a real big deal, but to Fletcher it seems like a lost cause, because while he can still write great music, he sucks at lyrics.
Thank goodness his temporary plant-waterer, Sophie (Barrymore), has an incredible knack for lyrics, not to mention being easy on the eyes. Think about the rom-com formula for a second, and you can fill in the rest.
Grant and Barrymore do work well together, and it helps the film rise just above the average chick flick. Chipping in are Garrett and Kristin Johnston, who plays Sophie’s sister. The pair brings considerable comedic talent to the film, and also meshes well with the leads. Overall, it’s a well-acted film, with perhaps the most remarkable aspects being that Grant and Barrymore did all of their own singing, and it actually sounds pretty good.
So Music and Lyrics is a light, enjoyable romantic comedy. How’s the DVD?
Music and Lyrics is presented on one disc, in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format. Like the film itself, this disc’s transfer is above average. While the content isn’t particularly challenging, there’s a fair range of visuals here and, from well-lit indoor scenes to darker outdoor stuff, they look good. The picture is consistently sharp, colours are pleasing and compression issues don’t rear their ugly head.
On the audio side, Music and Lyrics doesn’t falter. Quality is good again, with always-clear dialogue and score that fills out the front sound stage. It’s not bombastic, but what rom-com is? Of particular interest here are the music scenes, of either songwriting, recording or performing, and they sound nice and clear. But, there is a concern with audio synching, as the leads’ singing voices are sometimes slightly out of synch. I’m not sure whether this is an issue with the source material or with this disc’s audio track, but it’s there, and if you’re a details person it might bother you.
Like the English audio, the French and Spanish tracks are also Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitles are available in all three languages.
Music and Lyrics is light on bonus material, but it’s probably just enough to satisfy its likely casual fans. Here’s the breakdown:
- Deleted scenes: a handful of scenes that run about 11 minutes, but were obviously good cuts. It’s not that they’re all bad, though some are, it’s just that they hit notes already covered in other scenes.
- Blooper reel: about 4 minutes’ worth, and actually fairly amusing. If you like bloopers, you’ll want to check these out.
- Note for Note – Making Music and Lyrics: is definitely your typical making-of featurette. It’s 13 minutes of story summary with very little insight into the actual production.
- Pop Goes My Heart – Music Video: You see it in the film, but you can watch it here without track-skipping through the main feature. This one’s worth watching, but it is in the movie in its entirety, and once may be enough for you.
If you’re looking for a romantic comedy, you could do a lot worse than Music and Lyrics. Add in solid video, audio and special features, and this one might even be worth buying, at least for fans.
Special Features List
- Deleted scenes
- Blooper reel
- Note for Note – Making Music and Lyrics
- Pop Goes My Heart music video