Love and Other Drugs
The theatres, in my area at least, are in a very sad state. It goes without saying, that this is highly unusual for this time of the year, and I have to wonder where did all the good film go? As a result, I was driven to watch Love and Other Drugs out of desperation, which ended up being a mix between A Walk To Remember and The Notebook. With better actors that got naked a lot.
I did feel slightly duped by the film I saw. I felt it was marketed as this year’s Up In The Air, and while I tsk-tsk myself for basing my expectations around the movie’s marketing strategy, I still felt let down since the movie was mediocre at best.
The story has been seen before. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jamie Randall, slacker son in a family of a financially and academically successfully people. He find his stride as a pharmaceutical salesman that gets in on the ground floor of the Viagra revolution. He can, and does, charm the pants off basically anyone. But he’s attracted to what he can’t have: Maggie (Anne Hathaway). Maggie is independent. Really independent. She proves this over the course of the film, by sleeping with married men, calling Jamie by his last name, and pushing her one true love away. Her true love is Jamie. If that wasn’t clear. Why does she push him away? She’s got early onset Parkinson’s. Some days, she can barely pour herself a glass of vodka. She pushes him away, he leaves, he comes back, she pushes more and it continues on like that for a while.
Were it not for such a tired story that’s been repeated too many times, the movie would still find itself lacking. At one point, Jamie has a threesome with a co-worker and this co-worker’s friend who is introduced as ‘thai-curious.’ Because she’s Asian. It’s a play on words, keep up. Inevitably, Jamie experiences one of those rumored painful erections that necessitates an awkward visit to an emergency room. But I think this is all supposed to be forgiven by the number of times Hathaway bares it all. Gyllenhaal spends his share of time mostly naked as well, hiding only his most private areas with pillows, or the clever positioning of his legs. And of course, there’s a gentle allusion the big bad pharmaceutical companies spending millions to make senior citizens hard while ignoring the quest for a cure for Parkinson’s
Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz are all credited as screenwriters, adapting from the book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman. Randolph’s major writing credits include The Interpreter, and the mess of a film The Life of David Gale, while you remember Herskovitz and Zwick from The Last Samurai and Blood Diamond. Zwick’s direction noticeably bad, but isn’t noteworthy either. As romantic comedies with an artificially tragic twist go, Love and Other Drugs is just fine. It just should have been released in February.