Love and Other Drugs Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Love and Other Drugs
Reviewed by Damien Straker on December 2, 2010
Twentieth Century Fox 
presents a film directed by Edward Zwick
Screenplay by
 Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz and Charles Randolph from Jamie Reidy’s book "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman"
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad, Gabriel Macht
Running Time: 112 mins
Rating: M15+
Released: December 16, 2010


5/10

 


Ladies man Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a super smooth talker working in an appliance store. When fired for having sex with a co-worker, he is pressured to find a new profession. His brother, a lazy, overweight computer geek, has already made a fortune selling computer software to pharmaceutical companies. As such, Jamie uses his charming persona to become a sales representative for Pfizer, working to sell drugs to local doctors and GP’s. It’s a cutthroat business, but he still manages to work his way around people. He meets his match when he meets Maggie (Anne Hathaway), a slightly neurotic artist who initially holds him in contempt but then grows to appreciate his fleeting nature. She is only interested in casual sex but slowly Jaime becomes more attached and more concerned about her wellbeing.  

Love and Other Drugs was adapted from Jamie Rediy’s book “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman” by Marshall Herskovitz, Charles Randolph and director Edward Zwick. It seems like an oddity for Zwick, who has made a career of unsubtle but effective spectacles like The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond and Defiance. His lack of familiarity with the romantic comedy genre is most evident with the jarring changes of tone of this film. It starts off as a quirky comedy but later turns into a more conventional melodrama. There’s also a distinct lack of wit in the screenplay, and Jaime’s supposed suave charm is so overdone and phoney that it’s difficult to believe that any of the women in the film could fall for it. Annoyingly, they do so repeatedly. The intrusion of Jaime’s overweight brother, the typical fat character employed for comic relief, is a superfluous addition that adds little to the narrative.

In the second half of the film’s nearly two hours, the story changes gears and becomes a medical melodrama as Maggie’s illness deteriorates. At this point the film seems to be becoming more thoughtful and smarter than the typical Hollywood romantic comedy, but it’s undone by an extremely safe and predictable conclusion, complete with the kind of mawkish speech that only a romantic comedy could provide.   

 

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway reunite here, having worked previously together in Brokeback Mountain. Gyllenhaal is an unusual choice for Jamie and struggles to convey his character’s artificial smoothness and supposed suave, and he totally overplays the opening scene. His choice of stealing drugs from rival companies seems like an incredibly unlikely practice, and after he transforms into the typical nice guy in the latter portion of the film his character becomes bland, rather than sincere. This is less Gyllenhaal’s fault than the screenplay’s, which fails to give his character a meaningful backstory – the only particularly memorable aspect about his character is that he never managed to finish medical school. 

 Hathaway is rather spiteful as Maggie, and not always likeable in the way that she treats Jamie, particular in the second act. The women in the film generally do not come off well here as they are either gullible, or in Maggie’s case, plain irrational. Notably, the love scenes shared between Jamie and Maggie are more frank than most mainstream comedies. It’s just unfortunate that the film is a lot less interesting when the characters have their clothes on. Ultimately, the cardinal rule of a romantic comedy is broken: you don’t care whether they end up together or not.  






 
 



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