Love & Other Drugs
I’m not sure you understand how baths work, Jake.


Theatrical Release Date: 11/24/2010
Director: Edward Zwick
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Josh Gad, Hank Azaria, Judy Greer, Gabriel Macht


Trailer:

He says “ow” because he ran INTO the bar.

Oh, the ’90s. That glorious period when MTV was still playing music, people wore all sorts of mismatched colors and prescription drugs became en vogue.

Cue Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal). He comes from a family that expects him to make more of himself though his only talent seems to be getting women into bed. Becoming a pharmaceutical drug rep for Pfizer, Jamie quickly uses his wooing prowess to bolster his sales and this leads into a chance meeting with Maggie (Anne Hathaway). She’s beautiful and witty, only there’s one itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie problem … she’s got early-onset Parkinson’s Disease.

What follows is a shallow and incomplete look at the ills of the prescription drug boom (though any excuse to feature Oliver Platt does make me happy) mixed in with a love story about two people who of course “don’t want a relationship”, but quickly find themselves in one and have to decide how to proceed. Further compounding the scattered focus of the script are other characters like a rival drug rep (Gabriel Macht), a wealthy but insecure younger brother (Josh Gad), and a doctor more interested in having sex with beautiful women pimped his way than medicine (Hank Azaria). They, and about a half dozen other characters, get introduced and given possible story implications but are quickly forgotten as the film myopically zooms in on Jamie and Maggie’s relationship.

And although the film starts off in the right direction, director Edward Zwick’s supremely heavy handed approach to everything quickly begins to steer this plane into a nose dive. Whether it’s the ridiculous gospel choir-like “love theme” that plays at every tender moment, the “Jerry Maguire”-esque manner that Gyllenhaal proves his love in front of a bus load of senior citizens, or the convenient amazing closing montage of happiness that’s devoid of any evidence that Hathaway’s character has Parkinson’s (which is sort of a big deal), every attempt to take the film seriously gets shot down.

I really wanted to like this film. My obsession with Anne Hathaway is well documented and it’s no fault of the actors that the script and direction simply failed to deliver on the weighty premise. But yet AGAIN this year, film makers and the studios behind them apparently think audiences are too dumb to care that a movie veered itself away from organically pursuing its course and this instead feels like no one cared enough to craft an honest story. “Love & Other Drugs” gets a 2 out of 5, and considering how many story lines were completely forgotten by Zwick, this is me being generous (and yes, Hathaway’s lack of clothing in many scenes was a major influence here).

2 out of 5