Writer-director Marc Lawrence has collaborated with Hugh Grant many times in the past, including Two Weeks Notice, Music and Lyrics and, unfortunately, Did You Hear About the Morgans? Their fourth project together, however, is their best. The Rewrite is the answer to a genre that must be fulfilled at least every five years: the washed up Hollywood persona.
In this case, that Hollywood persona is Academy Award-winning screenwriter Keith Michaels (Grant), whose only successful film, Paradise Misplaced, is all he has left to coast on. This is, in fact, the very credential that gets him the only offer he's had in years, a job teaching at a screenwriting course at Binghamton.
Before Keith even makes it to his class, however, he ends up offending one of the most influential professors at the school, Mary Weldon, a foremost scholar in the field of Jane Austen. So obviously Keith is fucked in terms of winning her over. The president at Binghamton, Dr. Lerner (J.K. Simmons), is, luckily, on Keith's side. And yet, this doesn't prevent Keith from engaging in a cliche affair with one of his students, Karen (Bella Heathcote), before the class starts to make matters much worse for himself. To add to his pile of distractions, Keith is hounded by an older female student (you know the types who decide to go back to school later on in life) named Holly (Marisa Tomei, who has made a vengeful comeback after an absence in film from 2008-2010). Eventually, she convinces him to actually read her screenplay and admit her into the class--his previous method of selection was by looking at the female applicants' online profile pictures.
As Keith is pushed to the limits of teaching thanks to Weldon's vigilance and judgmental nature, he finds himself actually enjoying his students' screenplays, even going so far as to recommend one of them to his agent. Keith, on the other hand, seems to have no luck at finding a job in Hollywood again, especially after being embarrassingly ousted from writing the sequel to Paradise Misplaced.
Nonetheless, his unexpected attachment to Binghamton leads him to have surprising revelations about his own issues with respect to both his career and his personal life. While all of the expected developments and perfectly timed plot points are there (what else would one expect from a movie about screenwriting?), it's still just jadedly heartwarming enough to redeem Hugh Grant after his last two films, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists and Cloud Atlas.