A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Music and Lyrics is a 2007 romantic comedy in which Hugh Grant plays a past-his-prime '80s pop star who teams up with Drew Barrymore in both music and love. The biggest concern for parents occurs whenever Cora, the young pop star who has hired Alex to write her next hit song, appears. As a parody of the Britney Spears-style performances of the early 2000s, Cora performs in skimpy clothing, partially exposing her rear end, and at times accompanies her singing with orgasmic moans. There are also other moments of implied sex: Alex and Sophie sleep together, but nothing salacious is shown on-screen (they kiss a few times, but nothing graphic), and Alex gets into a fight with Sophie's ex. The language is mild, and there's not much drinking. The movie revolves around the question of whether it's better to do what others want or to stand up for what you believe in, which is a good one for teens to think about.
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What's the story?
Aging former pop star Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) is content to recycle his '80s hits at state fairs, high school reunions, and amusement parks. But after even those venues start losing interest, he has only one last chance: Create a love song for singing sensation Cora Corman (Haley Bennett playing a Britney Spears-Christina Aguilera hybrid). The problem? Alex only writes music, not lyrics. So after an ill-begotten pairing with a doom-and-gloom lyricist, Alex sets his sights on his temporary houseplant minder, Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore), who spouts sweetly romantic lyrics with little urging. After briefly hesitating, Sophie agrees to help. But can they get the song done in time to get it to Cora? And will she like it?
Is it any good?
This movie's pleasant enough, if predictable. Good date movies are like good first dates: They're charming, reasonably interesting, inoffensive, and smart, and you get a little smooching at the end. Music and Lyrics is all of those things at different points -- but unlike a lot of dates, there are no surprises.
While there's a moment during a dinner with Sophie's sister, Rhonda (Kristen Johnston, who steals every scene), when Sophie and Alex banter flirtatiously and share what seems like a genuine kiss, for the most part, the two actors don't click. Blame the writers: Barrymore has little to do than play the ditzy free spirit and utter dreadful lines like, "That song was dinner!" But overall, Music and Lyrics is pleasant and is sure to please diehard romantic comedy fans. Everyone else should stay away -- unless your date is making you watch it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how people respond when they face obstacles to achieving their dreams. How can you get support and be true to yourself while still respecting your limits? Do you think Sophie and Alex handle their obstacles well?
What does this movie show about the songwriting process?
What are some of the ways in which the music industry is parodied?
Talk about the sexual images portrayed by a lot of young girls' favorite singers (as exemplified by Cora in the movie). Is Cora sexy? Is sexiness something that teen girls should be worried about? What messages do singers like Cora send to their fans?
Themes & Topics
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