Monday, July 9, 2012
Music and Lyrics (2007)
The music video that opens Music and Lyrics generates a lot of goodwill for this fairly good 2007 comedy from director Marc Lawrence (Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice).
For starters, it's a good pop song.
Second, it does a reasonably good job of bringing viewers back to the 1980s when MTV and, here in Canada, Much Music helped bring music to the masses.
The song featured, Pop Goes My Heart, was a huge hit for Pop!, a 1980s band led by Colin Thompson (Scott Porter) and Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant).
Thompson pulled up stakes from the band and launched a very successful solo career. Fletcher countered with a contrived solo effort that still languishes at music shops. While his former partner enjoys an A-list career, Fletcher is reduced to playing amusement parks, state fairs and high school reunions. Even those shows are starting to drop off. He's making enough money from his past glories to pay the bills, but is content being a spent creative force. "I'm a happy has been," Fletcher suggests in the early frames. "It really takes the pressure off."
A huge opportunity turns up when pop goddess, and Pop! fan, Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) invites Fletcher to write a song for her consideration. He only writes music, not lyrics, and hasn't ventured to pen a tune since parting ways with Thompson.
A co-writing partner turns up in the unlikely form Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), who's filling in to care for his plants. Fisher has a way with words, probably because she has a largely unrecognized writing talent herself. She has bitter memories of a failed romance with an old teacher.
Fletcher and Fisher hit it off, fall in love and write a song that just might catch Cora's ear.
Music and Lyrcis feels like a television show at times. The story, especially in the early to mid stages, feels like a so-so sitcom. What keeps this film going is a steady string of one-liners from Hugh Grant. Many centre on the music business and other 1980s acts including Debbie Gibson and Adam Ant. Bennett gets one great line when Fletcher and Fisher attend her party. "I want to show you the roof," she tells them. "It's upstairs."
Stay tuned through the closing credits when Pop Goes My Heart plays again, this time with pop ups. Groovy!
FUN FACTS: I could have sworn Drew Barrymore's sister was played by Kirstie Alley. Nope. It's Kristen Johnston. Sorry, Kristen! June 2012 update: National Post reports a possible Wham! reunion with George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.
Reel Popcorn Junkie is a reporter with a newspaper in the province of Ontario in Canada. He began writing film reviews when he was a student at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. Reel Popcorn Junkie continues to write entertainment copy for a daily newspaper, but not film reviews. Reel Popcorn Junkie always orders a regular popcorn, with no butter, when he attends the cinema.