Opening 8 Mar 2007
Hugh Grant is brilliant as Alex Fletcher, a has-been pop star and parody of George Michael and other singers of the 80s such as Duran Duran. Alex’s musical star has fallen; he is a nobody until hot-stuff-in-hot-pants Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) hires him to write a song for her. He puts on the old composer thinking-cap, but is at loss for lyrics until plant-nanny Sophie (Drew Barrymore) shows that her talent lies in spouting words rather than watering cactus. Sophie’s sister, Rhonda (the excellent Kristen Johnston), married and mother of two, is ecstatic that she is just one degree of separation from her old teenage idol and encourages the budding relationship between the two. But Sophie mistrusts happiness after her former English professor shamelessly exploited her love. The film gets a bit sappy at the end, but this is a romantic comedy after all, and everything prior is so much fun that lovelorn gazes at the piano player are allowed.
It begins and ends with a hilarious video clip of Alex’s old band PoP and their top single PoP Goes my Heart. There are many original songs by Adam Schlesinger performed by Grant, Bennett, Barrymore and Schlesinger, although Grant claims that he couldn’t sing or dance before filming began. The story sparkles with one-liners such as “Come on. I’ll show you the roof. It’s upstairs.” Or “God never had a hit. Yeah? He’s got the whole world in his hands?” Grant’s British accent is perfect for the film which unfolds in Manhattan; try to see it in English, but certainly see it – in any language. (Becky Tan)