It would be so easy to ‘hate’ all over this movie. It’s predictable. It’s formulaic. It’s not even as creative as romantic comedies that I’ve seen ten years ago. But strangely there’s something that keeps me from completely writing this movie off — the charm of Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant.
Music & Lyrics stars Hugh Grant as an 80’s has-been pop star who meets a scatterbrained-but-cute writer in Drew Barrymore who have to write a song for a Britney Spears/Christina Aguilera/Jessica Simpson-type in a short amount of time. That’s it. That’s the whole movie. If you’ve ever seen even a few romantic comedies before, you can write the rest…. they meet, they have an awkward time initially… they find common ground… they kiss… things seem like they’re going ok…. then conflict… then resolution… kiss…<close curtain>. It was so bad that at the point about an hour into the movie — you know, the point where you feel like the relationship is going too good and you’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop — I found myself getting frustrated — on two different levels. Obviously, I was frustrated watching a totally predictable film. But I was equally as disappointed to think about how unchallenging and uninspiring a course both of these awesome actors have taken. Hugh Grant — for all the charm that he brings on-screen — could be pushing himself to do so much more. I’d love to see him even try to do a serious role. Something challenging. Maybe he’s been so heavily typecast as the bumbling, charming Brit that nobody wants to risk it? Or not. I’m thinking he’s just not ranging outside of himself. And it’s a shame. Same goes for Drew — even more so. When I watched her onscreen at times, it’s hard not to keep remarking at how much the screen loves her. She’s so charming and so beautiful. It’s such a shame to me that someone who’s been through so much in life and who’s shown signs of greatness still hasn’t had the breakout serious, grown-up role.
One thing that does ruin this film a bit is the age gap between Drew and Hugh. Fifteen years. (I checked.) And it shows. I mean, I was able to put it behind me. And they pull it off… kinda. But it would have almost made the movie better if this had been acknowledged in the plot. There were certainly opportunities to do this through skeptical side-characters. However, ultimately it’s kinda worth the trip to watch Drew looking so fine on-screen and watching Hugh….well, just being ‘Hugh’.
Music & Lyrics will never find it’s way into my ‘romantic comedies’ shelf (and a long shelf it is), but I certainly wouldn’t call this a bad film. Don’t expect too much. And if you’ve seen enough romantic comedies, I’d say you probably can watch this movie and surf the web without missing much. But ultimately it’s not about the plot as much as it is about watching Drew and Hugh — their charm saves this movie from being a total waste. If you like Drew and/or Hugh, check it out. Otherwise, skip it. Chances are you’ve seen this movie several times before.