*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Mike Bobbit from "OffTheMike"
There are only a select few submitters which I overlook some personal commentary. Mike is one of them.
Steve (James Corden) is singing in a small pub. He asks the crowd if they want to hear his friend Gretta (Keira Knightley) play. They do. Quickly though, they don’t even care that she looks like Natalie Portman and everyone in the bar starts chattering…except for Dan (Mark Ruffalo). He’s enchanted and in zero danger of hulking out.
Earlier that day: Dan struggles to wake up, until he finds out he has to pick his daughter Violet (Hailee Steinfeld) up from school. He works at a record label and hates all the demos he’s forced to listen to. He also constantly drinks from a flask. Violet dresses like she’s in a rap video.
Dan takes Violet to his office where he thinks he might have a meeting. Yep and he’s late! His partner Saul (Mos Def) is none too pleased. Dan shoots down Saul’s new plan (which, truth be told, sounded kinda neat) of having artists record commentary tracks for their albums. Saul and Dan butt heads, then Dan is fired from the record label they started together.
Dan and Violet go to the bar. Dan is broke and asks his 14 year old daughter to pay. Naturally she’s broke too. Kids these day, right? They dine and dash, but the bartender catches up to them and pops Dan in the nose…in perhaps one of the coolest ninja punches in cinema history.
Dan takes Violet home to her mom Miriam (Catherine Keener). She tells her mom about their day. Miriam is obviously super mad and Catherine Keeners out on Dan (tells him to get his act together). It’s never clear, but it doesn’t seem like they’re divorced because both wear their rings even though he has moved out.
Dan’s car won’t start so he wallows in self pity, bar hopping around New York until he ends up in a small pub where Steve is playing. Steve invites Gretta up on stage to play. Everyone grows disinterested, but in his inebriated state, Dan imagines what the song would sound like with a full arraignment. He imagines instruments playing themselves and it’s really Disney-like (only in the pub it probably smells like stale beer).
He tells Gretta he wants to sign her. She’s not interested and blows him off. He waits for her outside and confesses that he’s been fired from his own record label and couldn’t sign her if he wanted to, but her song was amazing. Earlier in the night he wanted to jump in front of the subway, but that song changed everything. They go to a bar and she looks him up online to find he’s the real deal. He tells her he’d like to take her to his old label. She’ll think about it.
She goes home and thinks about it in the form of an iPhone commercial. We flashback to her first arriving in New York with her pop star boyfriend Dave Grohl..er…Dave Kohl played by pop star Adam Levine, making movies and listening to music on their iPhone. The record label has set Dave up in a sweet suite.
Dave and Gretta go to the label and we meet creepy CEO McDreamy (Rob Morrow). You know he’s creepy because he has a samurai pony tail. He introduces them to the staff, which includes shy Yoko…oops…Mim.
Dave grows a mustache to show us that’s he’s starting to change. Gretta writes him a song for his birthday. He loves it. Dave goes on tour and comes back with a silly hat to show us he changed even more. He plays Gretta a song and she clues in on the fact that he wrote it for someone else. She’s right. He wrote it for Yoko…oops…Mim. They break up. She moves in with Steve.
She wallows in self pity until one night Steve takes her to a pub to watch him play. He invites her on stage.
The next day she calls Dan and tells him she’d like to meet with his label. Saul isn’t impressed. Dan and Gretta decide to make an album on their own. They’re going to hire the hungriest musicians and make it on the streets capturing ambient sounds from the city.
Musical montage! They hire two string players who were child virtuosos, but now bored college kids on musical scholarships. Cee-Lo pays for a drummer and a bassist. They hire a dude playing piano for little girls doing ballet. It’s a band! They play in an alley and recruit little kids to sing back up vocals in exchange for cigarettes (seriously), they play in the subway and on boats. Then we have to move the story along again, so….
Gretta goes with Dan to pick Violet up from school. Gretta and Violet bond and go shopping for age appropriate clothes. Gretta also invites Violet to play guitar on the final track for her new album. Miriam does that Catherine Keener thing where she looks at Dan and you can tell that her heart is starting to open up to him again.
Gretta asks Dan about the headphone splitter he has hanging from his rearview mirror. He explains that on his first date with Miriam, they walked around listening to music together with it. Gretta and Dan walk around listening to music together on her amazingly versatile iPhone. They bond deeply. He takes her back home and she gets drunk with Steve. She writes a drunken F.U. song to Dave and leaves it on his voicemail.
Gretta’s band is in place to record the final song on a rooftop. Dave listens to his voicemail and texts her on her iPhone (this thing texts too!). He has a super crazy beard now, because he’s really changed. She texts him back that they should meet. She records the final song. Violet joins in on guitar. Dan plays bass. Everyone has a good time. Later they celebrate. Gretta offers Dan a toast, but he says he’s going to try not drinking for awhile.
Gretta meets with Dave Kohl. She makes fun of his big stupid beard, which he calls “intense”. He broke up with Mim and misses Gretta. She plays him her new album and he thinks it’s amazing. He plays her his new album and she thinks it’s over-produced and she especially hates how the song she wrote earlier turned out. He asks her to come see him play it live. She asks that he not play the song big like that anymore and keep it the simple ballad she wrote. He explains that people like it big. She reminds him that when they started writing music they wrote music for themselves not caring about what was most marketable.
Gretta goes to see Dave play live. He’s shaved! He starts to play her song the way she wrote it and invites her on stage. The song starts to build and build into his album version. She realizes he’s not the person she thought he was, cries and leaves.
Dan gives a copy of Gretta’s CD to Violet. She’s geeked that she’s on it. He tells her the family should start a band, kind of like the Jackson Five, but the McSomething (I didn’t catch their last name and couldn’t find it online) Three. The family is back together.
Saul and everyone at the label love the album and want to put it out. Gretta will get one dollar from each copy. She says she’ll sign if Dan gets his job back, but doesn’t see why the label should make $9 for every $1 the artists make since the artists did all the work. She tells them she’ll think about it.
Later she and Dan put the album online for a buck a copy and note that all the money will go to the artists. CeeLo tweets about it and they sell 10,000 copies the first day. Saul is mad and lets Dan go again.
And they lived happily ever after.