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Marc Lawrence
Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Brad Garrett, Kristen Johnston, Campbell Scott, Scott Porter, Haley Bennett
Writing Credits:
Marc Lawrence

When justice is blind, it knows no fear.

First you're hot, then you're not ... and then you're Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant). So when the sizzlingest tween-queen on the charts asks the has-been '80s pop sensation to write her a song, he grabs for another chance at stardom. Problem: Alex can say it with music, but he sure can't say it with words. Enter Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), his beguiling if quirky plant lady, who has a green thumb for lyrics. Together, they go after songwriting success - and discover that if you want to write the perfect love song, it helps to fall in love. With Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore at the keyboard and Marc Lawrence directing, Music and Lyrics is a witty, wacky romantic comedy that faces the music ... and laughs!

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$15.875 million on 2955 screens.
Domestic Gross
$49.731 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $28.98
Release Date: 5/8/2007

• Eight Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• “Note for Note: The Making of Music and Lyrics” Featurette
• Music Video
• Previews


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Music & Lyrics (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 30, 2007)

That rarest of beast, 2007’s Music and Lyrics offers a “chick flick” that also appeals to the men in the audience. The film introduces us to fictitious 80s chart-toppers “PoP!”, a group led by Colin Thompson (Scott Porter) and Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant). When they disbanded, Colin went onto enormous solo success, while Alex wound up as just another pop culture has-been.

However, he continues to perform – albeit in front of increasingly tiny audience – and he hopes to get a break that will take him back into the charts. An opening presents itself when he gets the assignment to write a new song for pop phenomenon Cora Corman (Haley Bennett). The problem: Alex maintains a gift for tunes but not words.

After a disastrous attempt to pair Alex with a professional lyricist (Aasif Mandvi), he discovers his muse: substitute plant waterer Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore). She shows the ability to effortlessly toss off good lines, and Alex persuades her to become his partner. The movie follows all the pressures connected to their writing assignment – and other developments of a more romantic nature.

If you ask for one reason Music succeeds, I’ll give you two: Grant and Barrymore. Both are at their most charming and endearing here. Though Grant gets most of the funny lines, I think Barrymore probably gives the stronger performance. It’s her presence that allows Grant to be so loose and likable. She’s developing into the chick flick MVP, the woman you want to bring out the best in the male lead. How else can we explain how well her pairings with Adam Sandler have gone? Barrymore even managed to make Jimmy Fallon look like a decent screen presence.

Not that Grant is a slouch himself. He effortlessly conveys the spirit of a star on the decline, and he impresses with his own singing. When I originally watched the flick, I assumed someone else did the vocals, but it turns out Hugh carried the tunes himself. That’s a nice little bonus in addition to his amusing performance.

As one who spent much of the 80s in my teens, I certainly can easily remember the era, and that fact makes Music all the more enjoyable. The filmmakers get the little nuances right and pay a loving – not condescending – tribute to the period. Sure, the flick pokes fun at the goofier side of things, but it doesn’t do so in a mean-spirited way. It doesn’t hurt that “Pop Goes My Heart” really is a good tune; it truly could have been a hit.

If forced to do so, I can certainly find a few flaws in Music. The third act tends to drag, the characters veer toward the stereotypically wacky, and some of the plot turns feel wrong and contrived. None of these faults matter a whole lot, though. Music presents too much of a fun, warm and endearing experience for my to rain on its parade.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Music and Lyrics appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A mix of highs and lows, the transfer remained watchable but lacked consistency.

For the most part, sharpness was good. Some scenes came across as moderately ill-defined, but those didn’t appear with consistency. Though the flick didn’t boast great delineation, it was fine much of the time. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but some edge haloes could be seen. As for source flaws, I noticed no specks, marks or other concerns, though the image looked rather grainy at times.

Colors varied from good to thin. Some of the movie came across as awfully bright, and that meant the hues occasionally lacked much vivacity. In general, they seemed fine, but more than a few shots suffered from moderately pale tones. Similar issues made blacks a bit flat, and the excessive brightness caused some distractions. For instance, one daytime exterior looked like it took place in a snowy environment though that wasn’t the case. Enough of the image seemed positive to merit a “C+”, but the transfer disappointed.

I didn’t expect much from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Music and Lyrics, and the result seemed pretty typical for this genre. Audio quality was fine. Music showed good range and definition. Both score and songs displayed nice breadth, as they fleshed out the material well. Speech consistently came across as concise and crisp, while effects were clean and clear. The latter didn’t play a big role in the flick, so they failed to demand much. Nonetheless, they seemed fine.

As for the soundfield, it was decidedly low-key. The music showed decent stereo imaging, and effects provided a minor sense of ambience. Nothing in the movie stood out as memorable in terms of soundscape, though, and this was a pretty passive track. Though I didn’t find an impressive mix here, it seemed acceptable given the movie’s scope.

A small roster of supplements completes the DVD. We find eight Deleted Scenes that run a total of 11 minutes, five seconds. These include “Meeting Cora”, “Alex and Khan”, “Phone Messages”, “Too Many Words”, “Vinny Sings”, “Carousel”, “On Mars” and “Colin Calls”.

Though I often don’t think much of most cut sequences, these are almost all good. Four of them give Khan the desk clerk more to do, and they offer nice laughs. “Cora” is a little redundant but still amusing, and “Carousel” and “Mars” offer some comedic views of Chris’s relationship with his daughter. “Calls” is a very funny misdirect as well. I don’t know if these all would have fit into the final flick, but they’re very entertaining nonetheless.

Called Note for Note: The Making of Music and Lyrics, a featurette lasts 13 minutes. “Note” mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from writer/director Marc Lawrence, co-producer Scott Elias, costume designer Susan Lyall, choreographer Dan Karaty, vocal coach/arranger Michael Rafter, composer Adam Schlesinger and actors Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Brad Garrett, Haley Bennett and Kristin Johnston. The program looks at story and characters, the cast and performances, Lawrence’s impact on the production, recreating the Eighties elements, Grant’s musical and dancing training and other aspects of the tunes.

Relentlessly promotional, “Note” exists to sell the movie. It does almost nothing else, as it just lets us know what a great flick it’ll be and sends us through tons of film clips. That makes it a waste of time for fans who’ve already seen Music, as they’ll learn next to nothing about the movie’s creation.

Into addition to a standard four-minute and 11-second Gag Reel, we find a music video for “Pop Goes My Heart”. This is exactly the same clip that runs along with the opening credits. It differs only in that it lacks the text overlays. It’s nice to see it in all its unfettered glory.

A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for Nancy Drew, No Reservations, Seinfeld Season Eight, In the Land of Women and The Astronaut Farmer. No trailer for Music appears here.

Lightweight but inviting, Music and Lyrics overcomes many genre drawbacks to become a fun experience. The movie boasts fine performances from its lead actors along with a lively, jaunty tone that make it a consistent pleasure. Picture and audio are rather lackluster, and the DVD’s extras don’t bring a lot to the table. Though this is a mediocre release for an enjoyable movie, it at least deserves a date night rental.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.4705 Stars Number of Votes: 17
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