Thursday, June 14, 2007

DVD Review: Music and Lyrics

There are certain things you know you shouldn't enjoy, like eating untoasted Pop Tarts or watching politicians getting indicted. I suspect Music and Lyrics, now out on DVD, is one of those things, but damn if I didn't enjoy it anyway.

Just to be clear, this is no comedy masterpiece. If Howard Hawks was still alive, he would not feel threatened. In fact, if you brought it up, he would just hand you a copy of His Girl Friday and tell you to piss off.

Here's the story in case you missed the blitzkrieg of ads when the film debuted. Hugh Grant is a washed-up 80s pop star (the Andrew Ridgeley portion of the Wham! equation). He's given a chance to write a song for a Christina Aguilera-style singer, but he needs a lyricist. That's where insecure poet and plant waterer Drew Barrymore comes into the picture. Romance and hijinks ensue.

While there are quite a few good lines in Music and Lyrics and a nice atmosphere of irreverence, you know you're basically watching the film equivalent of a Twinkie and not an eclair. Drew Barrymore, as sweet as she is, just isn't magnetic enough to do the heavy romantic comedy lifting. The movie does benefit enormously from sweet and sullen Brad Garrett as Hugh Grant's manager and manic and bossy Kristen Johnston as Barrymore's sister. Aside from all of that, there is just one very simple reason why Music and Lyrics works and his name is Hugh Grant.

I'm just going to lay it out right here: Hugh Grant is an extraordinarily funny man. If you don't believe me, just listen to any of his DVD commentaries or read this interview about Music and Lyrics. When asked about singing in the movie, here's what he said: "I couldn’t believe how clever the computers are now. You can literally bark like a dog and it comes back like Pavarotti." He is witty, caustic and world-weary, and he brings those sensibilities to this movie. He knows it's not Shakespeare but he's still going to do his best to entertain you. And it works. And I might just watch the movie again. And then I might watch Four Weddings and a Funeral and maybe Love Actually with a smidge of Bridget Jones thrown in for good measure....


Steve B said...

"And I might just watch the movie again. And then I might watch Four Weddings and a Funeral and maybe Love Actually with a smidge of Bridget Jones thrown in for good measure...."
LEt me know before hand so I can not be home when that happens.

Kimberly said...

I completely agree with the review; I saw it the day after Valentine's Day with a friend of mine. The day I saw it was, coincidentally, the day before my boyfriend-at-the-time broke up with me. Good times!
The point is, I was glad I'd seen the movie. Even through the crappy feelings and the occasional sobbing episodes I got to laugh at the memory of it and few movie-quoting jokes came out of it for us. Hugh Grant just naturally makes me giggle.

Oh, and thanks for linking the article. I'm at work and reading:

In the film you see a bunch of mid-20s pop musicians and then this tragic middle-aged Parisian prostitute wearing too much rouge and a lot of semi-visible lifting tape on my face.

Made me nearly choke on my lunch-time sandwich. The man is just so likeable.

cubicalgirl said...

I liked the movie, too. A nice bit of candy you can enjoy and forget about.

BTW, Hugh Grant will always get a pass from me. That man can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned.

--R&L said...

The only thing that got to me about the movie (yes, I saw it, but IT WASN'T MY CHOICE! It was the Wife's turn to choose, dammit!) was the age difference. Hugh Grant is a great and funny person, and I've even learned to appreciate Barrymore's romantic comedy lite with Adam Sandler; but seeing them suck face just creeped me out more than a little bit.

The 80's references were a hoot, the "concerts" were great, and the songs were even surprisingly catchy... but that whole "little sis is kissing Granpa again" vibe made me need a shower. Seriously.


Liz said...

Yeah, I was a little unnerved by the age difference thing, too. I think that's why Drew Barrymore seemed like a bad choice of co-star for me. But everything else about the movie made up for it. And as cubicalgirl said above, Hugh Grant will always get a free pass from me.

annie said...

Just saw it, and am in the "glad I did" camp. I liked the story more than most romantic comedies. There wasn't the usual third act betrayal, and no lying. Yay no lying! Yay for characters being true to themselves!

And, of course, witty dialog.

At least there wasn't as much of an age difference as you tend to see in Woody Allen movies.