DVD Review: Music and Lyrics

Movie •••½ Picture ••• Sound ••• Extras ••
This romantic comedy rarely oversteps its sweet, simple, somewhat limited ways - and it succeeds all the better for it. The plot revolves around Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who was half of the once wildly successful songwriting team Pop in the early 1980s but now plays county fairs as a nostalgia act. That is, until reigning diva Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) hires him to create a brand-new song. Only problem is, she needs it by the end of the week, and Alex writes music but not lyrics. Enter plant-care woman (Drew Barrymore) who's hopeless with flowers but good with words. Their romance is as touching as it is inevitable, including the traditional comedic hitches along the way. Grant and Barrymore are excellent, and the script is tight and light.

The DVD transfer isn't demonstration-caliber, but it's decent enough. The picture is bright and colorful in a "Kodak moment" way, with lots of deep tones and sharp definition. The contrast is excellent. In a final scene, Barrymore is dressed in black, standing against a near-black background, and she's distinctly separate from it. But in other, darker scenes, there's no guessing what's hiding in the shadows.

The sound is modest, mostly dwelling in the front channels, where there's good separation. The surrounds are used only for ambience in some of the bigger concert scenes; still, this allows dialogue to be easily understandable. There's no lease-breaking bass, but this modest movie doesn't need it.

The best extra is a video of "Pop Goes My Heart," one of Pop's biggest hits from its heyday. Slyly poking fun at the likes of Wham! and Duran Duran, it's a riot. The other extras are weak: eight wisely deleted scenes, a not-so-funny gag real, and a 13-minute promotional featurette. [PG-13] English, French, and Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1; letterboxed (1.85:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.

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