Music & Lyrics is frothy and sweet, like the top of a perfect cappuccino. Hugh Grant is a self-professed "happy has-been," playing his befuddled, adorable persona more spot-on than he has since Four Weddings and a Funeral
. As Alex, former member of an '80s pop band who years later is playing at water parks and high school reunions, he's settled into a life of lesser expectations. Drew Barrymore, quietly radiant, is Sophie, the underachieving girl Friday who arrives to water--make that overwater--Alex's plants--and to explode him out of that comfy rut. If the plot's a bit farfetched, it matters not, since the two lead characters are so likeable. Big bonus: the supportive role of Kristen Johnston as Rhonda, Sophie's older sis (and longtime Alex fan) whose hilarious performance threatens to steal the show whenever she's on screen. (The owner of a chain of successful weight-loss centres, Rhonda tries to comfort a rattled Sophie: "Want to do some stress eating?") The film also marks the remarkable debut of Haley Bennett, who plays a pop star of Britney/Cristina proportions with deadpan sincerity radiating through her skimpy outfits and mega-extensions. As Alex and Sophie work on crafting musical magic, something else is taking hold in a sweet romantic comedy that hits all the right notes. --A.T. Hurley
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