Written by / 3/04/2013 / No comments / , , , ,

TAKING BARRYMORE FOR GRANT IN MUSIC AND LYRICS

year: 2007 cast: Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, Haley Bennett, Jason Antoon rating: ***1/2
Remember WHAM, the 80’s pop duo featuring George Michael and… what’s that other guy’s name? Well Hugh Grant’s Alex Fletcher has the same problem. One can’t imagine how Andrew Ridgeley felt after George Michael became a solo superstar while he faded into obscurity. But now, perhaps, we can.

Fletcher, played by the always-affable Hugh Grant, was one of two main members of a band called POP. We begin with a music video for their big hit song "Pop Goes My Heart," as corny and infectiously catchy as they come.
The fictional band POP reveling in 1980's video glory
We soon learn that Fletcher, unlike his former partner, has dwindled into the “Where Are They Now?” files and is even asked to be part of a TV show where he'd box other Reagan era has-beens.

Alex’s kindhearted manager does land him a few musical gigs: Even though Knotts Berry Farm cancelled, he performs nostalgic tunes at other amusement parks, state fairs, and class reunions. His screaming female fans are middle aged… his age… yet what he really needs is a second chance and rent money: and not in that order.
Haley Bennett as Cora Corman
Enter Cora Corman, the hottest diva on the teeny bopper market, who happens to be a POP fanatic. She wants Alex to write a song that they could sing live in concert. This would garner a healthy paycheck and a much bigger audience than he’s had for many years.

So in this romantic comedy, where’s our love interest? Alex has a lot of plants, and his regular plant-watering girl sends over a replacement named Sophie...

Drew Barrymore displays her usual quirky charm, playing a sweet yet opinionated underdog beauty, and yet Sophie has a hidden talent. She can easily come up with lyrics and since Alex only writes music, they team up to complete the song for Cora, which must be written in a certain amount of time, providing edgy suspense throughout the breezy mainline.
Drew Barrymore, Hugh Grant and a Cora Corman cutout
Much of the film has the new team writing together and getting to know each other. Alex has a more colorful past – being that he was once famous at all – but Sophie isn’t completely uninteresting. Her ex boyfriend’s a famous novelist who based an iconic character after her. This is a subplot that adds intrigue to what could have been a standard rom-com while the actors… especially Hugh Grant with his subtle sarcasm and two funny side-characters (including Sophie’s dominate big sister) make everything work despite a somewhat predictable turnout.

The most important aspect of MUSIC AND LYRICS is the music itself: the songs by Pop (performed by Grant) and the one being written, and ultimately recorded, by Alex and Sophie are actually pretty decent. This is a plus since many films about fictional bands/musical artists just don’t wash.

And now, enjoy POP GOES MY HEART by the fictional band POP featuring Hugh Grant's character Alex Fletcher on keyboards and co-vocals...

Another shot of Haley Bennett as Cora Corman
One-Scene-Stealer Jason Antoon as Greg the grumpy lyricist
BUY MUSIC AND LYRICS AT AMAZON
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