Movie Reviews

'The Rewrite': Hugh Grant tickles as a has-been

By Deborah WeeMovies - 16 October 2014 12:00 AM

'The Rewrite': Hugh Grant tickles as a has-been

The Rewrite

Our Rating

3/5 Stars

Yes, Hugh Grant still has it.

Returning to romantic comedy for the first time in five years – the last being 2009’s ‘Did You Hear About the Morgans?’ and let’s try to forget how atrocious that was – the British actor proves that he belongs to the genre as much as American actress Meg Ryan does.

In ‘The Rewrite’, Hugh Grant teams up with director Marc Lawrence for the fourth time. It is natural to be sceptical about this pairing; they gave us the disappointing ‘Two Weeks Notice’ and ‘Did You Hear About the Morgans?’.

But they also delivered ‘Music and Lyrics’, and thankfully, will improve their portfolio again with ‘The Rewrite’, which is not only better than ‘Music and Lyrics’, but a truly entertaining and lighthearted experience for moviegoers. 


Grant plays Keith Michaels, a formerly successful Hollywood screenwriter who won an Academy Award for penning a movie titled ‘Paradise Misplaced’. 

His glory days long over, Keith struggles to find career opportunities and ends up teaching screenwriting at Binghamton University (director Lawrence himself studied there in real-life) out of financial desperation. 

Initially deeply reluctant and without a tinge of enthusiasm for his teaching position, owing to his belief that talent cannot be taught, Keith soon finds himself gaining inspiration from his students – a spark that could either resurrect his screenwriting career or make teaching a permanent arrangement. 

Keith grows closer to one of his students, Holly (Marisa Tomei), an optimistic single mother who juggles her undergraduate career with various jobs. With his students, and Holly in particular, Keith begins to find new purpose in his life and re-evaluates his relationship with his estranged teenage son. 


Considering that Keith teaches screenwriting, it would have been deeply ironic if ‘The Rewrite’ flopped. Thankfully, it feels set to be one of the top feel-good movies of the year.

To be sure, the plot is nothing to rave about: It is thoroughly predictable and does not have a memorable moment.

But what makes ‘The Rewrite’ work is that it is genuinely funny, and because it is a romantic comedy, this is enough for it to satisfy the viewer. 

Grant is a natural as the effortlessly humourous lead. He easily brings to life the smart and funny script, as do the strong supporting cast including Tomei, JK Simmons, Allison Janney and the students. 

The movie has its sweet moments, but nothing too substantial. Its cliched dream-chasing theme is only somewhat meaningful, though it manages to avoid being too preachy.

Tomei’s character could do with a stretch in terms of character development, but her bubbly performance and chemistry with Grant is endearing enough. 

‘The Rewrite’ is not perfect. It is like an old acquaintance with whom you spend some enjoyable hours and serves an occasion to revisit the past without too much expectation.

‘The Rewrite’ opens in cinemas 16 October 2014

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The Rewrite
  • The Rewrite

  • Rated
    PG13 /
    Comedy, Romance
  • Language
  • (2 Reviews)