A look at 'The Painted Veil' and Hugh Grant's new romantic comedy, 'Music and Lyrics.'
The Painted Veil (PG-13)
Adapted from the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, "The Painted Veil" is the story of Kitty (Naomi Watts), a London socialite who marries a man she doesn't love to escape an unbearable mother. Walter Fane (Edward Norton) whisks his new wife off to Shanghai, where she promptly has an affair with a diplomat (Liev Schreiber). As punishment, Dr. Fane volunteers to work in the rural heart of a cholera epidemic, insisting that Kitty accompany him or face a disgraceful divorce. Temptingly, the trailer teases, "Sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people." The literal trek this film takes through the Chinese countryside is stunning. But Kitty's personal journey toward self-discovery and belated love disappoints. Grade: B–
– Teresa Méndez
Music and Lyrics (PG-13)
In this good-natured riff about an 1980s has-been, Hugh Grant plays Alex, the less-successful half of a "Wham"-type pop group, who lives off his glory years by vamping at state fairs and high-school reunions. Enter teen pop sensation Cora Corman, who wants Alex to write her next hit. The catch: He has a week, and no lyricist. Fortuitously, his plant-waterer, Sophie (Drew Barrymore), turns out to be a Brandeis University-educated literature major. Barrymore and Grant are a romantic comedy dream team, although neither actor is exactly stretching here. While the ending is a little off-key, children of the '80s will have gotten their rental's worth by the opening credits, thanks to the music-video spoof "Pop Goes My Heart." Grade: B