Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal are back together onscreen for “Love and Other Drugs.” (They starred together in “Brokeback Mountain.”) I went to this movie with somewhat high expectations. Both Hathaway and Gyllenhaal are very talented actors, and director Edward Zwick has an impressive résumé. Unfortunately, the film did not meet my expectations.
Gyllenhaal plays Jamie Randall, a very charming newcomer to pharmaceutical sales. While trying to pitch his product to a doctor (Hank Azaria), he meets Maggie Murdow (Hathaway). We find out that Maggie has stage one Parkinson’s disease. This does not stop Jamie from pursuing Maggie. When their physical relationship turns emotional, both try to come to grips with reality and what inevitably may come.
Before the screening, Zwick told the audience that he wants to show people how the boost in pharmaceutical sales happened. He does show this in the movie, but it hardly captures your interest. I could not tell which one was the subplot: the pharmaceutical element or the love story?
The first half of the movie is uninteresting. With Jamie, we have another privileged, immature brat who decides to mess around with his life only because he does not want to please his father. How many times have seen this? And why do we need to keep seeing this type of character? Maggie’s character is more understandable. Because of her illness, she does not want to get to emotionally involved with people. Yes, we have also seen this kind of character, but at least it is not as irritating as Jamie. The only reason why this whole setup is considered unique is because of the pharmaceutical backdrop. Oh, and also because Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are naked for most of the first half of the film. The nudity was gratuitous; and gay or straight, you do get tired of looking at Hathaway’s boobs.
Ironically, the movie livens up when Viagra is introduced. This is when the pharmaceutical element became interesting. The high interest and demand for Viagra was outstanding. It is at this point in the film, where Jamie and Maggie’s relationship evolves. I started to like Jamie at this point; he was no longer immature or boring. Also, I found the scenes that deal with Maggie’s Parkinson’s some of the best in the film.
“Love and Other Drugs” is not a bad film. It is entertaining and funny. I only recommend seeing it if you are a BIG fan of Gyllenhaal or Hathaway. If not, you are better off waiting to rent it.
“Love and Other Drugs” will be released in theaters on November 24, 2010.