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Love & Other Drugs (2010)

Josh Reviews Love & Other Drugs

When we first meet Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Jamie Randall at the start of Edward Zwick’s new film Love & Other Drugs, we learn immediately that Jamie is a fast-talking salesman who seems to be able to convince anyone to buy anything, and also that he is quite a ladies man who is not above having sex with a woman he knows to be involved with someone else.  In this case, the “someone else” happens to be his boss, which results, no surprise, in Jamie’s quick exit from that job.  His brother, though, is able to help him land a job selling drugs for Pfizer.  Since this film is set in 1996, it’s not a tremendous surprise that this fast-talking salesman soon finds himself involved in selling a certain call-your-doctor-if-your-erection-lasts-more-than-four-hours love drug.  While all that is happening, Jamie gets involved with Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), a vivacious, free-spirited young woman who, for reasons that become clear later in the film, is reluctant to let their sexual encounters deepen into anything more meaningful.

Quite a lot has been made of all of the nudity in this film, and with good reason.  We certainly get to see quite a lot of the skin of both of the two good-looking leads.  Ms. Hathaway, in particular, spends an enormous amount of screen-time in the nude.  Note to filmmakers: there’s no better way to get a guy interested in your romantic comedy than by including copious amounts of Anne Hathaway nudity.

And make no mistake, Love & Other Drugs is a romantic comedy.  I get the sense that the filmmakers had something a little more serious on their minds with this film, what with the third-act shift into dramatic territory as Maggie and Jamie struggle with the implications that her illness has on her future, and on the possibility of their building a life together.  But despite that, the film follows the standard romantic comedy tropes.  The couple meets cute, sparks fly, there’s an obstacle that causes them to separate, and then they’re reunited in the end, happily ever after.

There’s a lot that I enjoyed about Love & Other Drugs.  (BESIDES the Anne Hathaway nudity!!)  Both Mr. Gyllenhaal and Ms. Hathaway are dynamic, charismatic leads.  I think they have a strong chemisty on screen together, and I enjoyed watching them interact.  The first half of the film has a fun, jaunty tone with a lot of humor.  And I respect the filmmakers for trying to introduce some narrative ideas of more depth into the film’s second half.  But ultimately, I was disappointed to find that the film was unable to break out of the boringly familiar romantic comedy formula.

And, also, in the end … [continued]