Despite my inherent tendency for unrelenting cynicism I hold a tiny place in my heart for solid rom-coms. Supporters of the genre should be pleased with Ed Zwick’s latest picture, Love And Other Drugs, and it’s possible he’ll sufficiently peak the interest of my fellow cynics. Starring the always pleasant Anne Hathaway and a swoon-worthy Jake Gyllenhaal, this unconventional tale of love in it’s various forms opens nationwide this Wednesday.
- Director: Edward Zwick
- Writers: Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (screenplay), based on Jamie Reidy’s book “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman”
- Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Judy Greer
- Original Music by: James Newton Howard
- Cinematography by: Steven Fierberg
Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is the quintessential playboy, seeping with charm and social skills guaranteed to leave all women short of breath. While working as a pharmaceutical rep, he meets Maggie (Hathaway) a sharp, free-spirited young lady interested in nothing more than casual sex – which, initially, suits Jamie perfectly. Though over the course of their late night shenanigans, despite their efforts to avoid it, love sneaks up on them.
- Characters/Relationship: Maggie and Jamie are difficult to dislike. He’s a total pimp with infallible charm. She’s a seemingly fearless, confident chick who appears more non-committal than any man on earth. Most men in their 20′s, admittedly or not, strive to cultivate the “Jamie” qualities – likewise with young women and the “Maggie” qualities. The development of their relationship and the idea of “love disguised as sex/sex disguised as love” is totally amusing and ultimately reaches a level of surprising poignance. We discover that Maggie is diagnosed with Parkinsons, which accounts for her strong desire for self-sufficiency and her disinterest in relationships (assuming that few men would have the patience for her condition). While Jamie, for the first time in his life, is prepared to commit. Ultimately, we see them struggle with the ideas of intimacy, compromise, reality, etc.
- Hathaway: She’s made some great choices and some unforgivable ones over the course of her highly successful career, and Maggie’s vast emotional range really required Hathaway to step up to the plate both comedically and dramatically. She responded to the material with incredible honesty and unwavering commitment – she has earned her Oscar buzz.
- Pharmaceutical World: The quirky sub-culture of pharmaceutical reps provided an additional source of comedy and served as a fresh backdrop for the story.
- Brotherly Relationship: Jamie’s brother is the “Jonah Hill” of the film. Instead of being funny, though, he was impossibly irritating. The writing exposes what their relationship was supposed to look like. They failed epically. Their scenes were slightly awkward and the humor was incredibly forced. Too bad.
- Serious Nudity: We’re talking soft-porn status – but tasteful. Hathaway and Gyllenhaal are naked for 80% of the movie and having intercourse 75% of it.
I say this regarding all rom-com’s and I stand by it: know what you’re getting into. If you’re expecting Shakespeare In Love, you WILL be disappointed. Take it for what it is, and you’ll enjoy the picture.
Love and Other Drugs in theaters November 24th!