Love and Other Drugs (2010)

Director: Edward Zwick
Plot: Maggie is an alluring free spirit who won't let anyone - or anything - tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie.

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Awards: Nom. for 2 Golden Globes - best lead actor and lead actress (comedy/musical).
Runtime: 112min
Rating: M18 for strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material.



Edward Zwick, who has a knack for telling good stories and making decent action dramas such as Glory (1989), The Last Samurai (2003), and Blood Diamond (2006), does not make the cut in his new film, a romantic-comedy starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. Love and Other Drugs, which was once considered an Oscar hopeful months before it was scheduled for release due to the strength of the leading cast, and Zwick’s considerable reputation as a director, is unfortunately average and at times bordering on insipidness.

The saving grace is Hathaway’s performance. She plays Maggie, a young and pretty woman in her mid-twenties who is stricken with stage one Parkinson’s disease. She is like a free spirit, values her freedom, and does not wish to be attached to anybody. Until she meets Jamie (Gyllenhaal), who is selling drugs for pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Jamie is a sweet-talking, flirtatious man who dreams of getting rich, and enjoys having (empty) sex with women. Well, and this is not a surprise, both Jamie and Maggie do have sex, multiple times in fact.

Like any cliché story on the beginnings of romance, they start to have feelings for each other, and if I may add, also doubts whether they should be together for life. Maggie thinks it is unfair for Jamie to want to be her companion, because that would mean loving and taking care of a sick woman. Jamie, who also has doubts of his own, becomes far too attracted to Maggie’s personality, and for the first time in his life, finds true love in her.

Gyllenhaal’s performance is above-average, only occasionally matching that of Hathaway’s, though their chemistry is sustainable enough to last for two hours. For a mainstream rom-com (albeit aimed more at young adults than teenagers), Love and Other Drugs features quite a huge chunk of dialogue about sex. Even supporting characters are obsessed about the s word. If that’s not raunchy enough, Zwick also cranks up the flesh level by including tasteful nude scenes (most of which appear in the first hour) of the two leads in bed.

While initially holding some promise, Love and Other Drugs eventually falters due to a plain script that could have done more to develop the characters. Despite all the physical nakedness, sex, and some instances of quite hilarious comedic set-play, there seems to be not enough involvement for the average viewer to develop anything more than a muted interest in the characters. While Zwick’s direction of the cast is adequate, his screenplay (which he co-wrote with two other persons) is much less so. In short, you should give Love and Other Drugs a miss, even if you are an admirer of Zwick’s works.

GRADE: C (6/10 or 2.5 stars)

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