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Music and Lyrics
DVD - Single Disc
Warner Home Video 111282 - Region 1
List Price: $28.98 (Check Price at Amazon.com)
Available on DVD 5/8/2007
Dolby Digital 5.1
Hugh Grant is becoming the go-to guy for romantic comedies starring a variety of leading ladies. In "Notting Hill" it was Julia Roberts. In "Bridget Jones' Diary" it was Renee Zellweger. Now, in 2007, we have him starring with Drew Barrymore as a has-been '80s rocker who has been reduced to sideshows at amusement parks and state fairs. He gets a shot at a rejuvenated career when a pop diva wants him to write a song under a tight deadline and perform it with her at Madison Square Garden.
The biggest obstacle to his goal is the fact that he writes melodies but not lyrics. Fate brings him a lyricist in the form of his plant lady, played by Barrymore, who is a frustrated writer unwilling to risk failure. The two form a partnership to write a song under a tight deadline, with only the song's title as inspiration. They eventually grow to care for each other, but can they put their insecurities aside and see what's before them? The answer lies in the genre.
This isn't "Lawrence of Arabia" so fantastic video quality isn't imperative, but we do live in 2007 and DVD has been around for many years, so there's no excuse for a poor quality transfer. Fortunately for us, there's no worries necessary on this disc.
The video quality was good, and showed no distracting artifacts. The movie's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio was not kept intact on this DVD, as it is shown in the widescreen TV-friendly 1.78:1 aspect ratio instead. That's only 4% less, but it's still less, and the disc's box should not make a statement saying that the disc is preserving the movie's original aspect ratio.
My Pioneer DVD player reported an average bit rate between 5.3-5.9 Mbps during several samples in the movie. Peaks of 7.7 Mbps were also noted.
Overall, the audio quality was fine. However, the singing scenes were always distracting, like they were being lip-sync'd. According to the extras on the disc, both Grant and Barrymore did their own singing, so the only thing I can attribute the effect to was a slight shift in the timing between the video and the audio track during those sequences. This is most likely due to the singing being re-recorded afterwards and inserted into the scenes, but not completely successfully. It was distracting at times, which is unfortunate, since during a romantic comedy, the viewer should not be wondering why the actor's voice sounds odd.
To like this movie, you need to be a Hugh Grant fan. He's not my favorite actor, but I have enjoyed many of his previous movies. His on-screen chemistry with Julia Roberts in Notting Hill was very effective, and they had a great supporting cast in that movie. The chemistry with Drew Barrymore is less effective here, but they are both likable enough that it doesn't matter all that much.
The theme of the movie is much more effective. Its take on the '80s music scene with the cheesy music video that introduces the movie and the caricature of contemporary pop diva Cora Corman as a blend of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, with a swirl of Madonna mixed in for good measure, was very enjoyable. The final product of Grant's and Barrymore's efforts is pure pop, but very listenable. It took quite some time to get the tune out of my head after seeing the movie!
The movie is predictable, a little saccharine, and doesn't cover any real new ground. However, it's a romantic comedy and not "Pride and Prejudice" so it will serve as good entertainment for a date night with your romantic partner of choice.
Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the DVD.
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