Thursday, July 21, 2011

Love and Other Drugs

Directed by Edward Zwick.
2010. Rated R, 112 minutes.
Jake Gyllenhaal
Anne Hathaway
Oliver Platt
Hank Azaria
Josh Gad
Gabriel Macht
Judy Greer
Jill Clayburgh
George Segal

After losing his job as a stereo equipment saleman, Jamie (Gyllenhaal) decides to give the pharmaceudical industry a try. He takes a job as a sales rep for Pfizer. Basically, he hangs around private practices hocking Zoloft to the doctors. We most often see him at Dr. Knight’s (Azaria) office. While there, he manages to talk the doc into letting him be present during a visit from a patient. That patient is 26 year old Maggie (Hathaway) who has already been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Of course, Jamie is immediately head-over-heels in love with her, but she wants nothing to do with him. Ever the smooth talking ladies man, he navigates that little hurdle and talks her into a date. Right away, the two start a relationship they both agree is only about sex. Well, if things were that easy we wouldn’t have a movie, would we? Anyhoo, this is all set in the days leading up to the initial public release of Viagra. This becomes prominent in several ways I won’t reveal.

Things start off in an amusing manner. Jamie’s rich younger brother Josh (Gad) has been kicked out by his wife and taken up residence on big bro’s couch. Sales manager Bruce (Platt) is constantly prodding his young protégé to sell more. Prozac salesman Trey (Macht) has the upperhand and is constantly in their way. Dr. Knight is openly selling his loyalty to whichever rep can get him laid the most. Through all of this Jamie and Maggie actually do get laid, a lot…by each other. If you want to see Anne Hathaway in (almost) all her glory this is the movie for you.

It’s our favorite couple’s interactions between lovemaking sessions that try to attach us emotionally to the movie, but fail. The problem is pretty much as soon as he rolls off of her she starts with an unstoppable wave of self-pity, questioning his motives for sleeping with “the sick girl”, as she refers to herself and imploring him to stay away from her. He stubbornly refuses and back and forth they go. We’re supposed to be sympathetic towards their plight because of her disease. However, it’s much more tiresome than endearing. I have to remind you that the peripheral events all seem to work pretty well. They’re entertaining and light. When juxtaposed with them, the heavy relationship at the film’s core is jarring and transparently manipulative, ineffectively tugging on our heartstrings.

No comments:

Post a Comment