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Music and Lyrics

Josh Bell

The best, "Way Back Into Love," written by Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger (he also wrote "That Thing You Do"), is the driving force behind the half-baked plot. Washed-up '80s pop star Alex Fletcher (Grant) hasn't been relevant in years, since he became the Andrew Ridgeley to his former partner's George Michael. He's busy playing state fairs and amusement parks and enduring pitches for reality shows when a Britney-esque pop star (Bennett) commissions him to write her a song.

You might expect the typical rom-com set-up to pair the has-been with the pop tart, or with some hot new songwriter, to create the requisite friction. But there's virtually no tension between Alex and his romantic foil, flighty Sophie Fisher (Barrymore), who comes to water Alex's plants and shows a surprising flair for writing lyrics. They team up musically and romantically and succeed on both counts, with tiny bumps on the way introduced only to be resolved minutes later.

Barrymore and Grant have played these parts countless times, and for good reason: They know what they're doing, even if they just keep doing it over and over again. Grant stutters in his amiably British combination of arrogance and humility, and Barrymore chatters endlessly in a vaguely Long Island accent that represents the sole deviation from her norm. It's all rather nauseatingly pleasant, hard to find offensive but easy to get sick of—sort of like an insipid pop song.

  • Get More Stories from Thu, Feb 15, 2007
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