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Overall Rating
3.37

Awesome: 6.98%
Worth A Look: 37.21%
Average41.86%
Pretty Bad: 13.95%
Total Crap: 0%

5 reviews, 13 user ratings


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Music and Lyrics
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by Erik Childress

"Doesn’t Even Deserve It’s Own Divider On The DVD Shelf"
2 stars

In Hollywood there are hack writers, there are hack directors and then hack writers who become hack directors. Meet one Marc Lawrence, a below-sitcom level writer who has found success thanks to the box office receipts of the star pairings he’s been fortunate enough to have attached to his scripts. How else do you describe the writer of Forces of Nature going on to pen Miss Congeniality and its hideous sequel. He gets one get out of jail free with Two Weeks Notice which I surprisingly enjoyed despite the hackiness thanks to the chemistry of Lawrence-regular Sandra Bullock and the almost can’t-do-wrong presence of Hugh Grant. It’s because of Grant that I held hope that he could ring in the charm and bail Lawrence out again. Alas, lightning doesn’t strike twice and we’re left with a film more forgettable than most of the pop songs it tries to insist are works of art.

Hugh Grant stars as Alex Fletcher, the washed up other half of a Wham!-like pop group from the ‘80s called…wait for it…POP! In the film’s one bit of inspiration we’re treated to a funny full-length music video from their era (borrowing a little from Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung and A-Ha) over the opening credits. From there we learn that Alex is being courted for a has-been “battle” show between those whose star shone brightest two decades ago. When it turns out not to be a singing competition, but a boxing show, Alex fields another offer from his manager (Brad Garrett). Turns out a young pop diva named Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) is looking for a duet partner. Alex is told she’s a fan, but it turns out another half-dozen choices are in waiting. Whomever can write the song most pleasing to Cora (in a matter of days) will get the job and the opportunity to debut the song on tour with her.

Drew Barrymore’s Sophie Fisher doesn’t have quite the backstory at first. She shows up to Alex’s apartment as a substitute plant waterer, mumbles a rhyme in the middle of a writing session with a lyricist (Jason Antoon) far too dark for pop music and Alex recognizes his muse. Reluctantly wowing him some more at a high school reunion gig later that night (a 1987 reunion playing Lamaal’s "Never Ending Story" from ’84) the pair team up to craft a three-minute diddy and beat the deadline before Cora leaves town. And they fall in love and split and all that jazz. Yadda Yadda.

Describing it like that is further proof of how little there is to this actual story as told – but with so much potential its sickening to see it squandered. Beginning with the Britney-ish singer, Haley Bennett gives such a robotic performance that its an insult to robots. And I’m not just talking about Robby or R2-D2. The tiny tracker that Chewbacca scares has more personality. Argue all you want that the pop singer is supposed to be devoid of anything resembling flesh-and-blood, but Lawrence seems devoid of nearly any intention to mock her or make any comment on the state of tweener pop. When you consider Anna Faris throwing herself into the same kind of role in Just Friends, Bennett is so much her opposite that she may as well be wearing a goatee.

With one supporting character that should be playing a more central role basically a piece of looseleaf paper with nice legs, there’s another from Sophie’s past so inexplicable that its some sort of crime to waste such casting on an actor like Campbell Scott. Sloan Cates is a literary professor whom Sophie used to be in love with before knowledge of his wife became apparent. Since then, he was written a best-selling novel that haunts Sophie about a titular character she believes is an insulting twist on her history with Sloan. It instills in her a paralyzing fear at the mere sight of it, leading to a big moment-type of confrontation (Scott’s only scene in the movie) which winds up embarrassing both Sophie and Alex and serves the story no insight and especially no humor. Continuing the theme of pasts being forgotten, Alex’s former bandmate Colin (the one who achieved success in his solo career) is never seen after the opening video, never referred to and never an element of jealousy or scorn. If Alex is the clear Andrew Ridgely of the duo, how does Lawrence not even take a parting shot in some manner of Colin’s George Michael getting caught in a bathroom. Stale, I know, but at least its something. Lawrence’s script is so lost for its own ideas, it gives us a reprise of the opening video over the end credits “pop-up video” style. At least give us a different POP! song.

Two Weeks Notice was not a great romantic comedy by any means, but was filled with enough charm and a wealth of funny one-liners from Grant to make it quite watchable. Music & Lyrics doesn’t have enough quips that stick to the wall as it clearly hopes to coast on the charms of Grant and Barrymore alone. Certainly they make the film more tolerable than it has any right to be, but with such a wide-open field to skewer (which one can assume sparked Lawrence’s brain when seeing Bill Nighy’s segment in Love Actually), we’re supposed to swallow that pop princesses are now in the business of selling tours with special guest stars who haven’t appeared on an album cover in over a decade and turning over a part of her show so he can debut a new solo number. Backtrack from there and there’s little-to-no chemistry between Barrymore and Grant, the laughs are scattered and hopefully in ten years the work of Marc Lawrence will also be non-existent and left in the Wal-Mart bargain bins where they belong without a divider.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15590&reviewer=198
originally posted: 02/15/07 03:44:50
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User Comments

7/19/10 the dork knight Surprisingly watchable. One of Grant's better rom-coms. 4 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. an enjoyable and funny way to burn a couple hours. 4 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Wow...didn't want to see this,but was pleasantly surprised by the sharp screenplay. 3 stars
8/31/08 AnnieG Enjoyable lightweight romantic comedy; even the husband liked it. 3 stars
1/14/08 David Pollastrini Drew looked hot in this! 3 stars
6/15/07 William Goss Prime harmless fluff, with charm to spare and some awfully catchy tunes. 3 stars
6/11/07 Danielle Ophelia Fluff, but it's the inoffensive kind of fluff--enjoyed the 80's references, and Grant. 4 stars
5/17/07 Zizi Very romantic 5 stars
5/14/07 fools♫gold Think of what this film tries to say (about itself), and not about these critics. 5 stars
4/18/07 David Pollastrini Drew Barrymore is hot in this! 3 stars
3/12/07 Roy F. Moore Drew and Hugh make this movie sing (apologies for the bad pun)! Funny, sweet, cute. 5 stars
3/04/07 Joe Smaltz Cute movie, certainly uplifting, Grant and Barrymore click together 4 stars
2/21/07 MP Bartley Coasts by on the charm of its leads 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Feb-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 08-May-2007

UK
  09-Feb-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 04-Jun-2007

Australia
  14-Feb-2007 (PG)




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