The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Music and Lyrics

Music and Lyrics is more cheesy than any Hugh Grant love story that has come before it, and that’s saying something! Of course, the aging Hugh couldn’t do this on his own. Adding Drew Barrymore to the mix is the essential ingredient that puts the film over the top. She really does have that certain something from Hollywood of another era. Call it class or a style of acting that only she possesses.

The film focuses on the relationship between a former music idol (now a desperate has-been) and an aspiring writer (a hippie chick exploited by her former college prof) as they struggle to compose a song for a reigning pop diva. Weird plot, isn’t it? The movie is so stylized and breezily acted that you think you’re watching something from the Thirties. Though you constantly wonder about your own good taste, Barrymore’s and Grant’s acting is so convincing that you stop caring and simply enjoy what you know is a dollop of semi liquid, plastic cheese that would, otherwise, be indigestible.

The film was panned by most critics (which is understandable since it is so formulaic), though it did have wide audience appeal and grossed over a $145 million in box office receipts.

By the way, there is a great review of the film by Anne Gilbert on filmcritic.com, if you want more detail, something I can’t manage at the moment. I’m still wondering how a film this bad can be appealing to me. It’s as if the pinched and vapid Bob Dylan suddenly acquired his young voice and musical sense again, making you forget the past forty years of truly awful music. Hey, that’s an idea. Maybe Barrymore needs to inspire Dylan to greatness again.