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Published February 9th, 2007 | by Paul Greenwood

Music and Lyrics Review

Classification: PG Director: Marc Lawrence Rating: 4/5

File this one under pleasant surprises. Genuinely funny romantic comedies aren’t something that come along very often, so let’s enjoy Music and Lyrics while we can.

Grant plays Alex Fletcher, a has-been relic from an ‘80s boy band (Andrew Ridgeley might not enjoy this one), only able to make a living thanks to his one-time fame by doing convention appearances for middle aged women. When Cora Corman (Bennett), the biggest star on the planet, reveals that she’s an Alex Fletcher fan and wants him to write a song for her, he jumps at the chance, but doesn’t seem able to find the right person to put words to his music.

Enter Sophie (Barrymore) who’s just there to water the plants. When she turns out to have a natural gift for lyrics, she helps him finish the song and before the third chorus is over they’ve made it into bed. But, as is the way with these things, true love never runs smooth.

Rom-coms live and die on the chemistry and appeal of their leads and, on this evidence, Music and Lyrics is armed with two of the best in the business. Grant has rarely been better, channelling the charm and sarcasm of his Bridget Jones character, but without the bastard. The one-liners and affectionate put-downs flow from his lips with skill and ease. Barrymore matches him every step of the way, blending sex appeal with a touch of kook for another winning display. Ok, so they might not be Tracy and Hepburn, but as the Crystal and Ryan of the 21st century, they have few, if any, equals.

And yes, things get a bit obvious and forced for the climax, but the formula for these things should be well known by now, and with players this good it’s a minor concern. Elsewhere there are nice turns from Johnston as Sophie’s slobbering fan-girl sister, and Garrett as Alex’s long suffering manager, as well as some timely digs at the ludicrousness of reality TV. Granted, it’s not great cinema, but it’s sweet and endearing and laugh out loud funny. What’s so wrong with that?

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