December 11, 2010
Review - " Love and Other Drugs " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Love and Other Drugs
Direceted by: Edward Zwick
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Anne Hathaway's nude
breasts, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad, Oliver Platt, Judy Greer
Best known for films like Glory, The Last Samurai, and Blood Diamond,
director Edward Zwick tackles somewhat lighter subject matter in Love
and Other Drugs. Ostensibly a romantic comedy (and it does have
many of those elements), the film manages to eschew the stale
atmosphere of the genre and instead becomes a highly watchable tale
of a relationship between a high-end pharmaceutical rep and a woman
with a case of early-onset Parkinson’s disease.
Set in the medicinal boom of the mid-to-late nineties, the movie keeps
with music from that period.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jamie Randall, a fast-talking stud who could sell
ice to an Eskimo and is just as efficient as a womanizer as he is as a
salesman. He has smarmy confidence down to a science here – he
channels Tom Cruise’s ’80s persona and convincingly pulls it off.
Jamie has his career on the brain, moving his way from an electronics
salesman to the upper echelon of Pfizer reps as Viagra hits the
While trying to convince a doctor (played by Hank Azaria) to prescribe
his company’s drugs, Jamie meets the bold and beautiful Maggie
Murdock, a character who provides a wonderful change of pace for the
talented and underrated Anne Hathaway. Sure, Maggie is sick – but
that doesn’t mean she’s feeble. In fact, she’s more brazen than the sex-
crazed Jamie; she sees through his tactics and is totally up front with him about her intentions, avoiding the typical tropes of
playing hard to get. Later, she is the one who resists a meaningful relationship. Maggie’s illness pops up occasionally in the
movie, but it doesn’t define her character and Hathaway handles that aspect of her performance with tact and grace.
The thing that struck me most about this movie? Love and Other Drugs (like this year’s Going the Distance) seemed to depict
a more natural relationship than what we’re used to seeing on screen. Part of this is surely due to the nudity fearlessly
displayed by both leads, a rarity in a studio film thanks to the inexplicable ratings methods of the MPAA, whose members
consider nudity more harmful than violence these days. Aside from that, the film captures the little moments really well; in a
musical montage, a scene
with Maggie and Jamie in a
library plays out wordlessly but
comes off as totally believable.
Hathaway has some highly
emotional moments in the
script and commits to the role
so well that we feel her pain.
Late in the film, Jamie is
involved in a tryst with other
women where, in a lesser
movie, Maggie would walk in
and discover him. In this film,
though, the consequences of
that action are left only to
Jamie’s conscience and are
never mentioned again.
Don’t get me wrong: there are
many, many elements of the
romantic comedy featured here. Nearly every member of the supporting cast – Josh Gad as Jamie’s overweight and sex-
obsessed brother, Oliver Platt’s mentor figure, Judy Greer’s receptionist – is a rom-com standard, but their presence is
thankfully overshadowed by the chemistry between the impossibly good-looking couple of Gyllenhaal and Hathaway. As the
film progresses, it becomes clear what type of movie this is going to be and the elements start falling into place: 'The
Separation', 'The Desperate Act To Win Her Back', 'The Final Impassioned Speech'. But even with those check-the-box
components, Love and Other Drugs somehow sneaks just above the eye-rolling quality of most of the movies in this genre.
If you haven’t deduced this by now, this movie is
definitely not one to watch with the family.
Awkward situations of all kinds abound – mostly in
scenes with Jamie’s brother – but for those
searching for a romance with more drama than
outright comedy, this might be in your
wheelhouse. As I said before, the movie is highly
In case you didn't know, Anne Hathaway and Jake
Gyllenhaal do a lot of shagging in this movie.
Sharp, softcore smutty, sweet and silly, Love &
Other Drugs, like Viagra, provides an easy ‘up’ on
a slow weekend. Thanks to Ms Hathaway's utter
lack of modesty since her Princess days you will
most definitely NOT have to walk out of this one.