Music and Lyrics Marc Lawrence

Music and Lyrics, this Valentine’s Day romantic comedy offering, is pretty ridiculous. Its impossibly contrived plot has washed-up ’80s pop star Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) asked to take a break from his usual routine of reprising his glory days at high school reunions and amusement park stages to write a new song for teen superstar Cora Corman (Haley Bennett).

If you can get past the premise that a Britney or Christina would ask, say, Andrew Ridgely for a career boost, then you’re asked to believe that Fletcher, apparently a genius with melody who can’t write lyrics to save his life, finds his perfect songwriting partner in Sophie (Drew Barrymore), the bizarre woman who comes to water his plants and inadvertently shows off her lyric writing prowess.

The film has some fun, if easy, satire, skewering ’80s pop excess, reality TV and vapid pop starlets. The script tries really hard to be clever and charming but it doesn’t quite work. The leads are all quirks and no character, with Grant phoning in the kind of one-liners he’s built his career upon and Barrymore coming across as squirrelly and unstable rather than cute.

The worst thing is the movie’s pretension about the art of songwriting, which it’s unbearably earnest about considering the plot revolves around the songwriters happily selling their "art” to a singer they don’t respect at all. It also doesn’t help that both the music and the lyrics are mediocre at best.

(Warner)