One of the reasons I quit my six-figure salaried job on Wall Street was because I could get unlimited movie passes and an even more exorbitant salary. But really, it was for the love of the movies I’d get to see.
Clearly, one of the films I had in mind was Love & Other Drugs.
I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical about this film. It seemed like it’d be simply another formulaic romantic comedy with actors I wasn’t really interested in. I’m not a huge fan of romantic comedies. I’d almost rather watch the Cubs win the World Series than watch romantic comedies.
Key word: almost.
I rounded up my friend Amber and we walked inside past the die-hard Harry Potter fans who were already lined up to see the next installment, a mere six hours before the film, incidentally about the same time as most of their curfews. As we sat down, I noticed the majority of the people in the theater were women, and most of the men in there didn’t seem super happy.
The film revolves around Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal), a handsome, extremely charismatic salesman who loses his job but gets a break from his brother, Josh (Josh Gad). Starting at Pfizer selling Zoloft, he meets Maggie (Anne Hathaway), who suffers from early onset Parkinson’s Disease. Although Jamie is incredibly successful with women, he’s drawn towards Maggie’s resiliency and her initial rebuttal.
Speaking of butt, you will see a lot in this movie. This movie certainly doesn’t shy away from nudity.
As the film and relationship progresses, Jamie and Maggie learn to cope as a couple and as the reality of her condition sets in. Jamie, meanwhile, moves up from marketing Zoloft to Viagra, and with the copious amount of success, must measure his love for Maggie against the bevy of women seeking his attention. It’s here that the strength of the film really shines through. Anne Hathaway does a tremendous job portraying a young woman struggling with the effects of her illness. She displays an outer facade to mask the loneliness the Parkinson’s creates. Gyllenhaal portrays a natural charisma who is forced to reconsider his priorities and what’s truly important to him.
As strong as the acting is, however, it’s difficult to overcome inconsistent writing. The film changes tempo several times, ranging from slapstick humor to surprisingly believable moments of poignancy; unfortunately, these transitions are rather abrupt without much segue. Maggie in particular is extraordinarily sharp-tongued and acerbic. There are such people in the world, but it’s more common to find such sharp-witted people in Aaron Sorkin television shows than in real life. The film also begins following many of the standard romantic comedy cliches, and by the end, I got the “been there, done that” feeling.
Ultimately, though, the emotional scenes stick out in my mind. Many of the girls around me were sobbing or in tears by the end of the film, a testament to the chemistry between the two actors. Although I guess you’d have to have some sort of chemistry spending that much time together naked. Amber enjoyed it, and most of the women seemed to as well, ensuring a solid performance as a date movie. There’s a good amount of humor to keep everything from being too chick flick, and the guys going to see Anne Hathaway naked (both of you) won’t be disappointed.
Love & Other Drugs gets a B-.