So, here's the thing about me: I basically live from one Hugh Grant movie to the next. Tonight I saw his latest, Music and Lyrics.
It was good, very amusing as all Hugh Grant movies should be. I think someone took the Funniest Scene Ever and decided to turn it into a movie. It worked, for me, since the Funniest Scene Ever is that funny, it can basically sustain a whole film. Despite a pretty bad performance from the actress who played Cora (Haley Bennett), a Joss Stone lookalike, Music and Lyrics is joining the very small list of movies I'd see again.
And even that bad performance somehow seemed right—she played a MTV singing sensation (think Avril Lavigne meets Madonna), who delivers her lines like they were from a third grade reader. I actually thought she was a real pop star playing herself—shows how much I watch MTV. Thankfully, she was only in a few scenes, and redeemed herself in the end, with the help of a huge production number.
Drew Barrymore was adorable. I wanted to hire her to water my plants. Okay, kill my plants. Cute meet: check. But keep an eye out for subtle symbolism: She's been wounded, all right, but not just by the cactus. The barbs of a former writing professor have damaged her soul. (Uh oh. Looks like the Black Moment will belong to Drew.)
Hugh Grant has finally met the leading actress he deserves. Drew Barrymore, as Sophie, stood up to his humor, which can be overpowering for some actresses. I can't imagine trying to play a scene straight with him. In fact, in one scene Drew Barrymore was laughing so hard you just knew it was real.
Hugh Grant was on Top Gear last night, talking about the film and his various aches and pains (something he calls "VW Golf balls." Don't ask.) and you get the sense he probably writes many of his lines. But they're good, so who cares? And yeah, he plays the same incapable yet charming, slightly ruffled, grown-up class clown that he does in most of his films. Even when he plays the Prime Minister you want to hand him a comb.
In the film Alex (Hugh Grant) and Sophie pair up to write a song. (It's actually a catchy little number, one I can't get out of my head, damn it.) Along the way, to no one's surprise, they hit the sheets—and their heads: there's a reason Hugh Grant is always referred to as "bumbling," after all.
And from there the movie sort of bumbles its way to success. You feel good at the end, even though you know you've been horribly manipulated by a pair of attractive clowns.
It's sort of like how you feel when you like a pop song. You know you shouldn't, but it just makes you feel good (and as Alex tells Sophie, that's not a bad thing). But then that's really the message of the film: Serious fiction can hurt you, but a poppy little song can make it all better.
Now I'm waiting for the next Hugh Grant
pop song film. This one set me back £8.50 ($17) but was worth every p, despite the fact the screen was so small I couldn't even read the credits. I suspect the next Hugh Grant film I see will be this one.