53. Love and Other Drugs (2010)

Hard to love

Directed by: Edward Zwick
Written by: Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Judy Greer

As much as I want to love this film for taking on something as heavy as Parkinson’s disease, the thought provoking aspects of Love and Other Drugs end up feeling like easy ways of making a film deeper than it really is. It’s all well and good to be taking on challenging subject matter, especially in a genre like rom-com where plotlines deliberately try to avoid anything too heavy or depressing (sex jokes are so much better!) , but I don’t believe Love and Other Drugs does a good job in exploring the disease adequately or providing characters or a narrative progression that has the same level of depth.

Things got serious... pretty quickly.

Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is a charming pharmaceuticals salesman who uses his damn good looks and way with words to win over women and weasel his way onto the shelves of a doctor’s office. But when Jamie meets Maggie (Hathaway) he realizes that it takes a lot more than a pretty face to be a part of her life, and soon finds himself becoming addicted to her love, despite the hardships and pains of her battle with Parkinson’s disease.

With what initially feels like a screwball comedy, set in the 90’s when viagra hits the market, Love and Other Drugs feels like your typical romantic comedy in catering to crude sexual jokes, and even includes the fat comic relief character that isn’t as funny as you hope. But then introduces a much more serious tone rather unexpectedly and loses focus on the action that was taking place in drug sales, moving towards a rather cheesy ending that kind of washes over the issues that were raised earlier.

Finally, while  the acting is not in any way hopeless, I can’t say the match between Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway works. And this may be due to the fact that I found the characters incredibly annoying, with Jamie’s boyish arrogance failing to charm my pants off and Maggie’s eccentricity making her endearing qualities hard to love, Parkinson’s or no Parkinson’s.


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