April 27, 2021
FAVE ROMANCE – Music and Lyrics (2007)
Let’s start with the fact that romantic films are not my favorite film genre. However, as an equitable husband, my marriage has led me to watch many in return for viewing together the occasional sports flick or music bio. And even though most romance movies fall into a way too predictable pattern full of cliché plots and moments, there have been a few, mostly with a comedic element (“Rom-Coms”), that I have enjoyed. When searching the depths of my aging brain for what romance film I would consider to be my favorite, two with a common actress, but different enjoyable themes came to mind.
I’ve long had a not-so-secret crush on Drew Barrymore. In fact, my wife loves to joke about it more than it deserves. Crush aside, I also think she is a fine actress who proudly carries on her family tradition. But it takes a bit more to hook me into a romance film. There are two featuring her that “drew” me in due to my love of baseball (and my fave author Nick Hornby) for Fever Pitch and my love of music in the choice for my fave pick, 2007’s Music and Lyrics.
A major attraction to this film for me is the perceived idyllic lifestyle of the film’s lead character, Alex, played by Hugh Grant. It’s also one that I first fantasized about after seeing Dudley Moore’s character in the move 10 . I just thought that working out of your home as a songwriter was about the coolest thing a person could ever do for a living. And in the case of Grant’s role, he does it out of a stylish Manhattan apartment to boot!
There’s no doubt that this flick belongs in the Rom-Com sub-genre since styling Alex after Andrew Ridgely in the Brit band Wham was pure genius. Alex’s character mirrors Ridgeley in that he wasn’t his band’s much more popular and famous George Michael. Nonetheless, Alex, who’s band was called “Pop!” and whose big hit was the syrupy, “Pop! Goes My Heart,” comically and sadly still plays the occasional cheesy solo concert at state fairs and theme parks for his dwindling fan base of aging and adoring soccer moms. Grant even does his own singing in the movie and isn’t that bad!
Given a rushed songwriting assignment to hopefully salvage his sagging career, Alex struggles with his skills as a lyricist until he meets Drew’s character, the somewhat unsettled Sophie. He discovers her when she covers for a friend who takes care of his penthouse plants. While Alex can write the “music,” he is lost for the “lyrics” which he finds in Sophie as he catches her muttering words to his piano playing while watering his greenery.
If you love Pop music like I do, you will not only love the great storyline, but you will also find that the songs in the film are brilliant. The lead song in the film is the gorgeous “Way Back into Love” penned by the late great Adam Schlesinger from the band Fountains of Wayne. Long one of music heroes, Adam is no stranger to Hollywood having had great previous success with the great title track to The Thing That You Do . While Adam got an Academy Award nomination for “The Thing That You Do,” he got robbed for not getting a repeat nod for “Way Back into Love.”
So, without given too much away, Alex and Drew together write “Way Back into Love” for the day’s reigning nutjob musical diva played by Haley Bennett and it’s a smash success. And, oh yeah, I almost forgot. Alex and Sophie fall in love, fall out of love, and get back together to live happily ever after! Touché cliché! But I have to admit that it was a cute love story, and I couldn’t help rooting for them.