Could they GET anymore schmultzy?!
Having said that, this latest effort starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore is actually rather sweet. It tells the story of 80s pop star Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who was part of the hit group “POP!”.
Fast forward 23 years, and he’s a washed out has-been, eking out an existence performing on the fairground and amusement park circuit (“Knott’s Berry Farm cancelled? When were you going to tell me this?”), living off the 80s nostalgia. Suddenly a Shakira-stlye pop superstar, Cora (played by Haley Bennett) offers him a chance to record a duet with her, so long as he provides the song, written specially for the occasion, in just 3 days. Problem here is that though Alex is a talented musician, writes great melodies and plays any instrument he needs to, his lyric writing skills are actually a bit pants.
Then in walks Sophie (Barrymore) to fill in for the lady who normally waters his plants in his tiny Manhattan apartment. Turns out that she’s got a bit of an untapped talent for lyrics, and thus is born the next AshmanMenken/Gilbert-Sullivan/Rice-Lloyd-Webber team.
All the singing is done by the cast members (ie Grant, Barrymore and Bennett), and the song written for the duet is actually a bit addictive.
Grant’s 80s style gyrations are absolute gold, and though he’s getting old, he’s aging well, I have to say. He’s no longer the annoyingly foppish floppy leading man-type – now he’s the slightly older, but still quite adorable leading many-type.
The script was (for me, at least) laugh-a-minute – though the only boy who accompanied us to the theatre apparently didn’t laugh once. I think this movie can possibly be used to define the ChickFlick genre. The only thing that annoyed me about the whole thing was Grant’s dialogue, which at times completely mimicked the same old “charmingly-sarcastic” thing that he’s done in practically EVERY other movie – except perhaps American Dreamz, a very underappreciated look at the American Idol type show, where Grant plays a jaded, Simon Cowell type with scathing aplomb… I loved that movie! I wish someone would write more varied dialogue for him, for once.
But it had all the right ingredients – talent to be nurtured, music, only real adversity being the attempt to find inspiration (there was one pseudo-villain who was more there as an idea than a villain), celebrities, a rather touching and inspired public declaration of love a-la-Notting-Hill, and it was a joy to hear Grant singing with Barrymore. And no, just this once I don’t care about the autotuning!
On the Romantic-Comedy-a-scale, I’d give it a solid 4 stars – a feel-good ChickFlick which will make the romantics out there leave with a smile on their faces, and a song on their lips.6 comments
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