When cute meets charming

Grant and Barrymore make sweet Music together

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Untitled Document Music and Lyrics Running time 1:35 Rated PG-13 Parkway Point, ShowPlace East
To succeed in the movie business, it helps to have talent. Being adorable, however, can help sustain a career long after its expiration date. Though an accomplished thespian, Hugh Grant has turned charm into an art form. Pair him with Drew Barrymore, the princess of cute, and the chemical reaction is guaranteed to turn audiences to putty. That’s pretty much the premise of Music and Lyrics, an entertaining piece of fluff about a has-been pop star and his new source of inspiration. Grant plays Alex Fletcher, a performer cut from the pre-scandal George Michael mold, who finds himself scraping by at county fairs and private parties, belting out his old hits, his dignity a distant memory. Fortunately, the entertainment industry is cyclical and everything old, even the emptiest of pop confections, becomes new again. Fletcher finds himself in demand when he’s asked to write and record a duet with music’s flavor of the week, Cora Corman (Haley Bennett). Problem is, Fletcher is a bit rusty at penning tunes — but fate smiles upon him when he meets plant expert Sophie Fisher (Barrymore), who happens to have a way with words. Of course Fisher comes up with a catchy jingle, Fletcher rediscovers his sense of self-respect, and the two fall for each other. Writer/director Marc Lawrence, who guided Grant through similar territory in 2002 with Two Weeks Notice, knows the romantic comedy formula like the back of his hand, adding a pinch of wit here and a dash of romance there to make this familiar recipe seem, if not fresh, at least sweet enough for consumption. The fact that he doesn’t let the film or its characters overstay their welcome helps considerably — the movie, which clocks in at a bit over 90 minutes, is the perfect length for something so lightweight.

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