Love and Other Drugs **1/2
One Liner Review:
An interesting romance with much more creative substance than the usual film in this genre.
Love And Other Drugs is a movie that finds itself right smack in the middle of a trend of Hollywood films, all with the same essential premise. that premise is that the guy is a nice, sensitive, everyman who wants a relationship. and the girl is the one who doesn’t want it, to the point where the guy can’t seem to figure her out. doesn’t every girl want to be in a loving relationship with a nice guy? Apparently not. there was the 2009 version of this film, 500 days of summer, which still holds the benchmark for how to do it right. then there’s this movie, love and other drugs, as the 2010 version, and also pretty good. and after that, there’s the 2011 version with ashton kutcher, no strings attached. that movie might have gotten a little credibility for having natalie portman in it, but the plot just refused to take things any further than exactly what was on the page, and as a result was a lousy and waste of time picture.
Love And Other Drugs is certainly much better than that. the hero, jamie (jake gyllenhal) is a guy with all the charm and women-getting skills in the world, but no idea what he wants to do with himself. his brother, Josh, played by funny man josh gad, has made it big with some company that was bought up and has plenty of advice for jamie.
and that’s pretty much where the movie starts. josh turns his brother onto the pharmacudical drugs corporations and becoming a salesman for them and jamie dives into it head first. we see him go through training, learn how to sell, and get versed in everything he needs to know about the drugs he will be selling.
the movie does not introduce the other character in the romance, maggie (anne hathaway), until a solid portion of the film has already gone by. and in this way, love and other drugs is different from the usual film in this genre. it is not entirely about the relationship and knows that to be worthy of an audience’s attention, it needs a little something more. something to grab the audience and make them say, “hey, maybe this isn’t exactly the same as every other film i’ve seen in the genre before.” the whole pharmacudical sales situation is this movie’s ticket to creativity.
Jamie goes to work for pfizer and is partnered up with older salesman oliver platt, who becomes not only a partner, but also a mentor. together they seek out doctors, scout the competition from other drug companies like prozac, and talk about their potential futures.
It is only after jamie has established a deal with doctor hank azaria, whereby he will be shadowing the doctor and trying to talk to him during the work day, that jamie meets maggie. she comes in to see the doctor and ends up taking off her shirt. and jamie pretends he is a doctor as well and goes along with it.
well, maggie watches jamie come out and go to his trunk and can tell by what’s inside that he is no doctor. he’s a drug company representative and she can’t believe he lied to her to see her without a shirt on. jamie says some sweet things to win her over and gets her agree to a first date. and now we’re into the dating movie part of the film. everything up until this has been a lot of fun, including the way the two of them met. now, however, things are about to fall into more of the usual territory.
jamie and maggie start off both being all about sex. that’s the whole “no strings attached” or the new justin timberlake movie, “friends with benefits” thing. i wonder how that movie’s gonna end up, do you think maybe the characters will realize that they actually want a relationship? It’s the same old thing over and over again, and it pretty much is that way here too. maggie is not interested in a relationship at all. she has parkinsons disease and seems to feel that if a guy says he loves her, knowing about her disease, than he’s lying and just using her. so why give him that chance. she has a wall put up against the world. it’s the same ideas that the character summer in 500 days of summer had, or no strings attached’s natalie portman with her “i’m too busy as a doctor to have any time for a relationship,” situation. the girl just doesn’t want it.
And that’s pretty much how the movie goes, with jamie trying to convince maggie to stop being so defensive against the world, and maggie not interested. but luckily the movie has a whole bunch of other things going for it too. the pharmacudical job situation that kick started the movie and set it off on the right foot is not gone. maggie tells jamie about a new drug his company is putting out that will help guys with their erections, and jamie goes after it. he seeks out being the salesman for this drug, viagra, claiming who could be better for it than him, a guy who gets laid all the time? And he’s given the account, and viagra takes off. watching the success of this drug and how all the doors open up for jamie at once is a lot of fun.
the other thing this movie has going for it is josh gadd. all comedic romances have the main character surrounded by a group of friends who try to be funny, but are more often just pretty stupid. even 500 days of summer had two friends and neither one of them was very memorable. but love and other drugs has the intelligence to give us only one friend (in this case it’s jamie’s brother) and to concentrate on him. and gadd has a lot of fun with the role, playing a pig of a character with a non-stop sex drive. between gadd and the pharmacudical job situation, this movie is able to find enough threads to make it work. the romance is pretty similar to every other romance we’ve seen, but occasionally it does have something to offer, such as a brief conversation between the two of them about qualities jamie likes in himself. 500 days of summer worked because it was able to put us into the main character’s shoes and allow us to feel the way he was feeling. love and other drugs isn’t quite as successful with that, but it certainly tries and makes the effort enough times to come up with some really interesting ideas.