Love and Other Drugs

2 Dec

Title: Love and Other Drugs
Edward Zwick
Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, based on the book by Jamie Reidy
Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Josh Gad, Judy Greer, Gabriel Macht, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, George Segal, Jill Clayburgh
MPAA Rating:
R, strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material
112 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:


Expectations for Love and Other Drugs were kinda high at one point I guess,  the trailer was quite fun and people were calling Anne Hathaway an Oscar contender. Now the movie has been released for a week, and the reviews have been lukewarm at best, and the chances of Ms. Hathaway nabbing one of the five slots come Oscar time seems like one helluva long shot.

All that being said, I actually found myself really loving Love and Other Drugs. I found it to be a very refreshing film, a romantic comedy that’s finally adult coming from a Hollywood studio is basically unheard of these days, and the actors in the film are some of the most likable in the business. Ms. Hathaway alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in the two lead roles were simply superb, and any supporting cast that counts with Judy Greer, who I have an undying love for, will always be golden in my book.

So count me amongst the lovers of this film. I won’t call it one of the year’s best, but I have a distinct feeling that this time next year I’ll remember it very clearly, remember it as a fresh rom-com, one that actually has emotions and actual characters and that beyond all its flaws, because it does have a few of those, was a film that had me falling for it thanks two its two terrific leads.

And that’s mostly because, I would suspect, the man behind this film is not a guy you’d ever peg for a rom-com director. Edward Zwick is best known for more dramatic and heavier works such as Glory, The Last Samurai, Legends of the Fall and Blood Diamond. And I think that’s why this one seemed so different, why in this one love was shown like it is in real life, like a true fickle bitch that can be both the best thing in life while still hurting you at the very same time.  Because the love story Mr. Zwick tells here is one that hurts, it doesn’t stop being a rom-com because it’s still many times fun and a lot of times sexy, but it doesn’t smother you with stupid clichés and dumb lines and lets some good raw emotion come through.

Mr. Gyllenhaal plays Jamie Randall, a salesman for Pzifer during the times when Viagra was enterting the market. And he meets Maggie, Ms. Hathaway’s character, on a doctor’s office. Him posing as a medical intern and she going in for an exam which required her to show her breast which Jamie takes a peek at, only for her to eventually find out he really wasn’t supposed to be there and get really mad at him.

That’s how our two protagonists meet, and the film feels fresh just then, the relationship these two develop is wonderful to watch. They go for coffee and quickly have sex, and this is a film that’s super comfortable with showing a good sex scene, it’s not gratuitous in the least, but it doesn’t shy away from it either, which is great not only because we have two attractive people here, but also because adults have sex, that’s how a love relationship goes and it’s good that a film shows how it is. Though to be fair these two weren’t thinking love at all, they just were attracted to, and wanted to get busy with, each other.

The rest of the movie examines how they move on from that apparently-casual encounter to something more profound and real. This isn’t the perfect romantic comedy, it’s not because the characters these two play, him the charming loose guy who can pretty much bed any girl he wants and her the bohemian artist just living life, have been staples in these films for quite some time. But this one at least has two actors that bring something different to their characters, add that to the fact this film is shot amazing well and directed by a guy that brought his own little something to the genre and you’ll have a kickass addition to the rom-com canon.

Now, as I said, there is a sort of dramatic turn this one takes. Once we get over the sexy pleasantries of their initial meet-cute we get to see these two set apart their own conventions and get down their guards to deepen their relationship, and we see all the things that can come out of doing such a thing, the good and the bad.

Jamie will obviously turn out to be bad guy who’s actually a very sweet guy while still being terribly seductive, and Mr. Gyllenhaal plays him just great, and is seriously funny in it, too. The scenes he shares with Josh Gad, who plays his brother, or with Oliver Platt, who plays his awesome boss, or with the always cool Hank Azaria, as his most dependable client, can be seriously hilarious.

But what we also get in Mr. Gyllenhaal, is his ability to go from being the laughs of the film, to being a perfect fit to go alongside Ms. Hathaway, who’s the true heart of the film, and this is something which should come as no surprise to anyone who saw Brokeback Mountain in which the two played off each other really well. Now, even though I said I doubt this will grant her her second Oscar nomination, the first one being for her mesmerizing turn in the masterful Rachel Getting Married, this is still a very moving performance she gives. She lets us into Maggie, she bares it all, and I don’t just mean her clothes, and gives us a very honest and seriously affecting look into her character.

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Hathaway since forever, and the stuff she’s doing nowadays is amazing, her work in The Devil Wears Prada was amazing, then came Rachel Getting Married which is one of my favorite performances of the past decade, and now this one. I don’t think she’ll get the Oscar nomination, because the reaction to this film has been quite mild, but man would I be happy if she did. But then again, there’s always Lone Scherfig’s One Day which is coming out next year, which looks seriously awesome and like the sort of film Ms. Hathaway could continue doing her magic in.

This was just a beautiful film to me. Maggie has been diagnosed with early Parkinsons, and that’s why she just wants the sex and not the love, because she, the overthinker that she is, reckons it will be too much of a burden on anybody who’s with her. And then we see the love that comes up between her and Jamie, and we see the tough times and the good here, and the good are impeccably sexy. And while this one is not without its faults, the good parts more than make up for the bad, these is a great pairing of actors that make Love and Other Drugs one of the most honest films of its type to come out in years, and one in which we are given love as it is, and I loved it for that.

Grade: A-


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