- Movie Rating -

Love & Other Drugs (2010)

| November 23, 2010 | 0 Comments

Love and Other Drugs begins as the kind of silly romantic comedy where a guy can snooker his way into a doctor’s examination room, get a gander as a gorgeous woman’s breasts, offend her, and end up having athletic sex with her. Yeah . . . okay . . . never happens! Not in this lifetime. Most likely he would end up with a massive lawsuit, a restraining order and a bruised testicle.

The movie reveals itself to be the kind of romantic comedy in which two people who hate each other end up falling in love (see above). I can buy that. I can, perhaps, even buy the running gag about the bum who steals samples of Prozac from the dumpster and pulls himself together enough to get a job interview. What I can’t abide is that Love and Other Drugs begins as a hyper-active screwball comedy and then illicits a massive tone shift in which one of the lovers is suffering from an incurable disease.

The guy is Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal) a pharmaceutical rep who manages his best sales by bedding down with nurses and receptionists. He works for Pfizer and hopes that his hard work in Ohio will get him a better gig in Chicago. His supervisor Bruce (Oliver Platt) tells him that he is getting close and that’s at the same point when he falls in love with Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), the gorgeous bare-breasted, non-litigious beauty that he was leering at in the doctor’s office. She meet-cutes Jamie by socking him in eye with his sample case. Later they have coffee and then sex back at her place.

Maggie is over-sexed, but she’s just as much brains as she does beauty. They have rowdy sex and it surprises them both that, when they come up for air, they find that they really connect, both in the heart and in the head.

There is a complication, however, and this is where the movie loses its balance and becomes deadly serious. Maggie is keeping a secret from Jamie: she is suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. He is perplexed as to why she didn’t tell him before and she doesn’t think he wants to deal with the heavy burden of loving someone through thick and thick.

The big revelation about Maggie’s ailment comes at about the movie’s mid-point. Up until that time, we think we are watching a silly romantic comedy all about happy accidents and social embarrassments, but the movie makes a tone shift that leaves us confused as to what kind of a movie this is. The third act of the movie is so heart-breaking and serious that it hardly even resembles the first few scenes.

I think what this movie needed was some simplification. Director Edward Zwick, best known for epic historical dramas like Glory and Legends of the Fall, knows how to work with actors. Here he gets wonderful performances from Gyllenhaal and especially Anne Hathaway who is one of the best and most intuitive actors of her generation, but I just wish he know what kind of movie he wanted to make.

Maybe he could have done away with the plot about the pharmaceuticals and simply focused on this difficult love affair. The best scenes in the movie are the quiet moments between Maggie and Jamie when they are simply looking at one another. This is the second pairing of Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal after Brokeback Mountain and here they reveal a great chemistry together. They can convey multitudes to one another without saying a word. I think if the movie had just stayed with Jamie and Maggie and allowed their characters to do the driving, Love and Other Drugs could have been a really great love story.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2010) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy, Drama