Monday, 2 March 2009


“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.” - Peter Ustinov

The weekend was very busy, as I was working away on my two special projects that are taking up my spare time: Editing a medical dictionary and writing a pathology textbook. In amongst the many hours spent over poring proofs and typing away on the computer, I had a break and we watched a movie. It was good to get away from the intellectual stuff and just veg. out in front of the TV screen, with something not too taxing for the brain.

We watched Marc Lawrence’s 2007 film “Music and Lyrics” which he not only directed but also wrote. The leads are the unlikely coupling of Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, which couple somehow manages to work with quite a bit of chemistry. There is energy and sympathy there and the repartee seems spontaneous and fresh. This is a typical romantic comedy with a predictable plot, but in an interesting context – the pop music industry.

The plot centres around Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant), a pop-star has-been now playing the nostalgia circuit for middle-aged housewives (the big gig is a Berry Farm!). He meets young and vivacious Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore) who waters the plants in his apartment but has an undiscovered knack for writing lyrics. Sophie saves his day when the current pop megastar Cora (Haley Bennett) asks him to write and record a duet with her. There is an amusing satirical contrast between the pop scene of the 80s and 00s and Cora’s character is particularly delicious – a mix of Britney Spears/Madonna/Shakira.

The musical score of the movie has some pleasing numbers of Wham-like or George Michael-type of numbers as well as the weird-and-wonderful ethno-pop of Cora, the mistress of the Buddha and Booty show. The horrific mix of Alex’s ballad with Cora’s Hindu fantasy is very amusing. Grant’s one liners are delivered with aplomb and provide a constant source of mirth in the movie. Barrymore plays the ingénue convincingly and her lines are replete with the lyrics that inspire Alex, my favourite being the “Love Autopsy”…

This is a movie that amuses and gives one plenty of smiles and chuckles, even though there are no belly laughs. A pleasant, easy to watch movie that would appeal to most people. Only fluff, but quite amusing and easy enough to watch for a little relaxation. Why am I beginning to sound apologetic? Watch it, it’s not pretending to be Bergman nor is it the wittiest thing ever written or filmed. It’s modest and cute and fun.

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