Huh.. Keira Knightly, an actress, trying to be a musician and Adam Levine, a musician, trying to be an actor.. Throw in a super cliche’ script and Mark Ruffalo in well.. a typical Mark Ruffalo part, and you’ve got the plot of this this sappy movie wrapped up to a tee.
“Greta” (Kiera Knightly) comes on a visit to NYC with her up and coming rock-star boyfriend, “Dave Koch” (Adam Levine), with I might add a horrible 70’s porn~stache which turns into an even less attractive, hideous full beard! Blech..I guess I just don’t get the ‘Adam Levine’ thing..but back to the oh – so – every – cliche – in the book, storyline. Dave, of course cheats on Greta, which she figures it out by listening to a song he wrote while on a quick trip to LA, but of course, so she goes to find her quirky, unemployed, street guitar playing to no one, but hey, I have an expensive NYC apt. with all sorts of musical recording studio equipment, also British friend, “Steve” (James Corden). Steve takes Greta out to a open-musician night at a bar and makes her sing (cringe-worthy I might add – (ex-b/f Rupert Friend, I hope you don’t hear this as you can actually sing) and lo and behold washed up, drunken music exec. “Dan” (Mark Ruffalo) is drunkenly in the audience after being ousted by his label partner “Saul” (Mos Def as Yassin Bey here) because he is deemed ‘out of touch’. He ‘hears’ the tepid song in an orchestrial manoeuvres kind of way and of course the rest is well..right there in front of your face to see.. Every step of the way.. plodding along with every cliche in the book of “Hey let’s make an album and you a star” story, they set out to record all over the streets of NYC..cuz you know..Punk Rock NEVER did that in the 70’s!!
This part of the movie is actually not so bad and there are some endearing characters that help pull this off including a small group of kids playing in the back alleys..who viola’ become back up singers.. but okay.. really..it has a few sweet moments and these are them. Also, joining in the revelee now in probably my favourite character of the movie, Dan’s daughter, “Violet” played well by Hailee Steinfeld. She is joined by her mom & Dan’s wife “Miriam” (Catherine Keener), from whom he is heartbreakingly separated from to add of course, misery to mayhem and leave us oh so hoping for that ‘you can see it coming a mile away’ reconciliation of the two. There are also some nice music scenes with Steve Wonder playing during a bit of an homage to running around the streets of New York while listening together to music. But all in all, you see everything coming but not in a way that makes it anything special or different. Of course Dave wants to get back together when he realizes his mistakes, of course Greta wants to be a rebel musician and try to dictate to the label what she wants done with her now, oh so catchy tunes album, of course she rolls with it on her own terms!! And sorry, Keira, but you are not a singer and wearing oh so many stripes & checks bohemian look with your flats, riding a bike with a little straw basket, being almost emaciated looking with your pout or snaggly over-done smiling, all the while having a bit to much posh-Brit for the role, well..does not work.
I don’t really even need to explain the end of the story..because you know what it is from the beginning. My only 2 standouts are Hailee Steinfeld and James Corden. I almost feel bad for writer/director John Carney as ‘Once’ was a really good movie.. Twice is not.
Grade: C – because some people will just love the sappy overdone story and they deserve to spend money on this movie. For the rest of us, D+