Music and Lyrics charming but predictable

Music and Lyrics, the romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore was released Feb. 14 and is a surprisingly good picture. Grant plays Alex Fletcher, a former eighties pop star, and Barrymore is Sophie Fisher, the woman who waters his plants. When Barrymore turns out to be a "natural lyricist" their relationship as co-songwriters commences with interesting results.

It's not as good a film as Two Weeks Notice, which also stared Hugh Grant and was directed by Marc Lawrence. A comparison of the two films shows that Music and Lyrics lacks many of Two Weeks Notice's more subtle touches. However, it still has a solid story. Grant and Barrymore overcome a rough beginning to produce strong on-screen chemistry. Amusing supporting actors add to the show, including Kristen Johnston as Barrymore's older sister Rhonda. Johnston's character has a huge crush on Grant's character and becomes hysterical when Barrymore tells her that the two have met.

There are several satirical elements like the character Cora Corman, the idol of pre-teens everywhere, who asks Grant to write a song for her. "Cora Cora," as her fans call her, is obsessed with eastern mysticism and everyone who speaks with her must bow in greeting. Her religious eccentricities are reminiscent of those of real modern stars, like Tom Cruise with Scientology and Madonna with her mystic Kabbalah.

In addition, at the end of the movie, when Rhonda takes her kids to see the concert where Cora Cora will sing the song Sophie co-wrote, she is shocked at Cora's minimal clothing and exotic dancing, and eventually covers her pre-teen daughter's worshipful eyes. Cora is like a mixture of Britney Spears and Shakira.

The movie also mocks the ridiculous nature of reality shows when a TV network asks Grant to star in their new reality show about 80s has-beens which would feature washed-up singers and bands boxing with each other.

The plot is slow at first but picks up the pace as the characters develop. It turns out that Sophie has a complicated past, which Alex helps her to confront. Sophie also has moral reservations about some of the changes which Cora Corman makes to the song which she and Alex have written, leading to a conflict in which Alex does not recognize the most important things in his life. Eventually, though, he comes around. The end of the movie is romantic and funny without being sugary. Overall, the story is amusing though not realistic, and the actors fit their parts. These aspects combined make Music and Lyrics a charming movie.