Love and Other Drugs Directed by: Edward Zwick Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Josh Gad, Oliver Platt Running Time: 1 hr 52 mins Rating: R Release Date: November 24, 2010
PLOT: Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is a ladies man who gets into pharmaceutical sales in the late 1990s. He meets Maggie (Hathaway) who suffers from Parkinson's and sparks fly.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of the rom-com will have a good time, and super fans of Gyllenhaal and Hathaway (plus naked bodies) will enjoy as well.
EXPECTATIONS: My wife was very excited for this one, since these two (especially Gyllenhaal) don't usually do the romantic comedy thing, I was interested.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie Randall: They don't sell him. Sure, they show him selling, they try to prove that point. But charm isn't something that immediately comes through. Without Gyllenhaal's smile, you wouldn't have patience for Jamie. Eventually, you warm up to him. Does he change? Well, he learns to love and that's normally enough for ladies to enjoy. But besides money, you don't know what he stands for during 90 percent of this film. With that said, it's amazing how far Gyllenhaal's smile can go. Score: 7
Anne Hathaway as Maggie Murdock: Let me check, yup this character was written by a man. How can I tell? Maggie loves sex. Loves it! She's also very comfortable with her body and doesn't want a commitment. She isn't clingy, of course she's artistic, plus she's sarcastic and has a great sense of humor. Only a man would write such a fictitious girl. And here's the thing, I'm not complaining at all. Maggie doesn't show up in the first part of the film and I was waiting for something to give me a spark. Hathaway can at times seems very theatrical (like when she was saying good night when hosting "Saturday Night Live") but I really enjoyed her (and her chest) in this film. And no, I don't think it's rude if I'm complimenting, and she happily flaunts her breasts many times. Score: 8
Josh Gad as Josh Randall: I guess he's supposed to be the funny sidekick. I don't think the movie needed it. His insanely gratuitous sex jokes didn't work for me. The only thing funny about this is a rich guy choosing to live on his older brother's couch. That's the concept that's funny though, not the application. Score: 4
Rest of Cast: Oliver Platt is always a charming schlub and here he's no different as Bruce Winston. He's the perfect one to guide Jamie in the art of selling drugs. I wish there would have been more of a focus on that lifestyle. His sarcastic rant about not wanting to live in the same city as his family had some emotional impact, which can't be said for too much of this film. Hank Azaria as Dr. Stan Knight is nice because while he's not exactly evil, at least he's more realistic than other recent characters he's played. Score: 6
TALKING: The selling of the drugs seems over the top. I just don't see people pushing through the door and climbing over people to get a presentation (not perscription) of Viagra. I guess Jamie's main talent as a salesperson is that it's OK to think about sex when he's around compared to thinking about it when Bruce is sweating over your shoulder. The "love" moments between Jamie and Maggie have the desired impact, but nothing about it sings "classic." Score: 5
SIGHTS:It's the late 90's. I don't have nostalgia for it and the film didn't create any either. Yup, cell phones are a little bigger. It kind of feels like a lazy period piece. Maggie's apartment is insanely awesome and huge. She works with old people so clearly she's rolling in money. Did I mention there is a lot of nudity? Score: 5
SOUNDS: Speaking of not having nostalgia. Look, I know "Two Princes" by the Spin Doctors was a big song in 1996, but should it really be the opening song to set the entire tone of the film? At least "Macarena" fit in the absurd moment of Pfizer training their employees. The other songs are all over the place, so there is no discernible theme or vibe created. Score: 4
BEST SCENE: He hits on her, she decides to sleep with him, then she kicks him out. I love fantasy flicks.
ENDING: Ouch. Really? It's almost like you can see the screenwriter wiping off his hands and saying, "It's all wrapped up, nice and tight." The decision that Jamie makes is unnecessary and seems a little out of character. And what is Josh still doing there? I thought he was trying to patch things up with his wife.
QUESTIONS: A little more about the ending ... what's so great about Ohio? Why are they staying? And who's idea were all of the gross gags? Did they figure since they had Gyllenhaal and Hathaway almost completely naked they HAD to counteract that with something that's more likely to appear in a low-budget frat comedy?
REWATCHABILITY: I could. I don't think I will, but if it's on pay cable there are a couple things that would catch my attention again.
Love is a drug. That's what the title is stating. But we really don't get into any details on the meaning, or necessity of love or any other (prescription) drug. It's all a backdrop for a typical romantic comedy. Maggie is perfect, but we're able to feel sorry for her because of Parkinson's. Jamie is a ladies man who might be capable of love with the right woman. The tone switches whenever it feels like it. There's the attempt at R-rated wacky comedy and also tear inducing sadness over people who suffer from Parkinson's. It doesn't feel like the director has earned the right for any of these emotions or gags on that spectrum. While Zwick isn't helping the situation, Gyllenhaal and Hathaway definitely are. This couple makes Love and Other Drugs just charming enough, especially compared with what usually passes for romantic comedies.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10