2007 Romantic Comedy
, and Affectionate Parody
of 1980s pop music and the stars related to it.
In The Eighties
, Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, as a singer / song-writer for the hit band
'PoP!'. Unfortunately, the Eighties ended, and so did Alex's career, pretty much; after his bandmate and collaborator betrayed the group by stealing their last songs and recording them solo, Alex's career dried and up and he ended up a has-been, eventually finding some niche of contentment and income performing to crowds of his now middle-aged female fans at school reunions and theme parks.
Unfortunately for him, even this last well of employment (and dignity) seems to be drying up; there's new old acts embarking on reunion tours every day, and Alex is losing gigs. Possible salvation - and a return to the Good Old Days
- beckons when Cora Corman (Haley Bennett), a Britney-style teenybopper star and fan of his music, commissions him to write a duet to be performed on her next album and concert tour. Unfortunately, Alex only wrote the music, not the lyrics; however, by an astonishing stroke of luck
, his attractive-but-scatty plant-waterer
, Sophie Fisher (Drew Barrymore
), demonstrates an unexpected knack for writing song lyrics...See if you can't guess how it progresses from there
Provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: 1980s pop music is treated very affectionately; the absurdities and pretensions of the fashions are spoofed (most effectively in the hilarious music video for 'PoP!''s big hit), but it's always good-natured.
- Alliterative Name: Cora Corman.
- Brainless Beauty: Cora is a classic example. She practices Buddhism, but doesn't even really know much about it.
- The Cast Showoff: Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, and Haley Bennett all do their own singing for the film.
- Concert Climax: Sort of: Alex and Sophie's reunion takes place off-stage.
- Concert Kiss: Alex and Sophie
- Contrived Coincidence: Alex can't write lyrics and needs a lyricist. Sophie, the plant girl, just happens to be a writer and undiscovered lyrical prodigy. Phew, that was lucky.
- Creator Breakdown: Explored; Alex makes a convincing argument that it's better to channel your personal issues into creative endeavours (and get paid for them) than moping around "being a little bit self-indulgent". The first decent song he manages to write entirely by himself, "Don't Write Me Off", reflects this.
- Also parodied; it's suggested that "Greg the rhyming psychopath's" dark, grim lyrics are a reflection of this trope.
- Deadpan Snarker: Alex.
- Dismotivation: Both Alex and Sophie, in many ways.
- Duet Bonding
- Glory Days: Subverted — Alex isn't exactly thrilled with his lot, but is more or less resigned to it, never really demonstrates any burning desire to get back where he was, and treats his fans and low-rent gigs sardonically but with real affection.
- Hey, It's That Guy!!: Mr Shue is Cora's manager. In a film where Drew Barrymore sings, Mr Shue neither sings nor dances.
- The Lancer: Alex's role in PoP!
- Laser-Guided Karma: Sophie suffers a breakdown on finding out that Sloan, her former professor, is making a major motion picture of the book he wrote about their affair. At the end of the film, we find that the movie was mercilessly shot down by critics, completely ruining his career.
- Lost Love Montage
- Ms. Fanservice: Cora is very much this.
- Muse Abuse: Sophie's a victim of this, courtesy of the English Lit professor who had an affair with her without telling her he was engaged and then, when it went sour, proceeded to write a best-seller painting her as a talentless gold-digging whore.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed:
- PoP! are based on Wham!, and Alex Fletcher is very obviously based on Andrew Ridgeley. (If you don't know who that is...you get the idea.)
- Cora Corman is likely based on Christina Aguilera. She's described as Britney and Christina put together. Though one could assume that she is a Lady Gaga expy, she was actually first.
- The Noun and the Noun
- Old Shame: Alex's solo album. Rolling Stone called it "a crass, contrived effort not fit for a dentist's chair". That was apparently the kindest review, and Alex is inclined to agree with them.
- Plagiarism In Fiction: What Sophie's ex-boyfriend accuses her of. In a national best-seller. Ouch.
- Sad Times Montage
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: During an argument about why Sophia is so cut up about her ex-writing professor writing a novel which portrays her as a gold-digging hack, Sophie irritably asks how Alex would feel if one of his heroes said that he was a terrible artist, and namechecks Smokey Robinson and Bob Dylan as examples. Alex's response... gets away from him.
Alex: Well, first of all, I actually know Smokey a little bit and he's far too much a gentleman to ever say anything like that. Dylan... might. Dylan would. In fact, Dylan did.
- Spoiled Sweet: Cora may be a bit demanding, and comes off downright creepy in early scenes. But underneath it, she's a closet romantic who helps Alex win Sophie back by rearranging her entire concert at the last minute.
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "Entering Bootytown".
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: In the form of a VH1 "Pop-Up Video" segment! Cora had a short marriage, The film of Sloan's book was a disaster, Colin broke his hip during a POP reunion, and Alex and Sophie are still together and his hip appeared to be fine
- White-Dwarf Starlet: As above, Alex isn't really obsessing over the good old days.