Out of favour LA screenwriter Keith Michaels (Grant) is forced to take a job teaching screenwriting at an East Coast college. Once there, he fills his class with young female students, has run-ins with the faculty matriarch (Janney) and sparks a friendship with mature student Holly (Tomei).
In premise, The Rewrite may feel formulaic — a has-been screenwriter (Grant) is forced to take a job teaching scriptwriting and gets involved with a mature student (Tomei) — but has more smarts and textures than the trailer would have you believe. There are no surprises where any of this is going but Grant adds an appealing sad-sack quality to his dry-wit charms, the support acts (Marisa Tomei, Allison Janney, J. K. Simmons) are classy and the screenwriting class scenes have enough School Of Rock charm and Hollywood in-jokery if you know your three act structures. Predictable, easy-going but thoroughly likeable.
It would be easy to dismiss this as a plastic Hugh Grant rom-com but it has enough smarts, laughs and feel for its likeable characters to make it worth your while.