Music and Lyrics: 2 Stars (out of 5)
The latest from writer/director Marc Lawrence (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous, Two Weeks Notice) is, sadly, another average run-of-the-mill romantic comedy. It does make me wonder idly if this is really how Andrew Ridgeley’s life turned out, but I don’t think that was the goal of the film.
It’s just like a pop song – fluffy and cute, but without any substance; it’s like day old cotton candy.
Hugh Grant stars as a the lesser half of an 80’s duo who now works state fairs, high school reunions, and bar mitzvahs. Out of the blue a Britney Spears-like teen pop diva (Haley Bennett) offers Alex a chance to write her a hit song. I need to stop here for a second and muse. A Britney clone, complete with her lack of understanding of music and religion? Isn’t this joke five years too late? Yeah, I think it is.
The trouble is Alex has no talent for lyrics – but wait, the girl watering his plants (Drew Barrymore) is a natural. And so Alex teams up with Sophie to write a hit song in just one week.
You can probably guess where the story goes from there – they get together, they separate over a misunderstanding, each learns an important life lesson, and (I hope I’m not spoiling this for anyone) find their way back to each other in the end.
As for the romance, Alex and Sophie strike up a nice friendship but you never see a real romance here. It’s more like two lonely people sleeping together for comfort than true love. There’s just no real heat or chemistry between them. It doesn’t help that the script calls for little more than the pair to act cute and neurotic throughout, not exactly a stretch for either actor.
As for the comedy, the film opens with a nice parody of an 80’s music video and a good joke about a “reality” TV show about has-been stars. Other than that the story is rather bland as the film refuses to take advantage of several opportunities. It’s just too sweet, and could have used a little more spice. It’s much better than the current romcom disappointing audiences – Because I Said So, but I can’t recommend it when Barrymore herself has already made a superior 80’s throwback romantic comedy.