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Movie Review: Love and Other Drugs

BY HANNAH KRAMER | NOVEMBER 29, 2010 7:20 AM

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** 1/2 out of *****

Maybe Ritalin is one of the "other drugs" this film needed to focus on to tell a fully developed story.

Love and Other Drugs bounces from one story to another, trying to accomplish too many things.

The romantic comedy chronicles the relationship between Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal), a drug rep for Pfizer, and Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), a free-spirited artist who struggles from the crippling effects of Parkinson's disease. Maggie and Jamie are both resist attachment and romantic involvement, but the bond that develops between them challenges their personal ideas about love.

A clear focus is the element most lacking in Love and Other Drugs. There is an imbalance in the attention that is placed on issues about the rise of pharmaceutical companies, the difficulties of dealing with Parkinson's, and the lives of two emotionally tainted characters.

The film is set in the '90s, when leading pharmaceutical companies were focused on the one-drug-fits-all mentality they hoped would yield millions. Prozac, Zoloft, and Viagra are on the list of pills pushed in the movie. Gyllenhaall makes his way to the top of the food chain as a sales rep, but the film attempts to show the selfish and unsafe aspects of the industry.

This issue is underdeveloped because it is only one story in the plot of the film.

While Hathaway gives a valid portrayal of struggles of early onset Parkinson's, the way the film tries to give an informative overview of life with the disease is another distraction from the core relationship in the film.

But the flaws of the romantic comedy are lessened by the steamy chemistry between Hathaway and Gyllenhaal, not to mention the amount of time these two Hollywood hotties spent rolling around together in bed.

For Hathaway, the film is a transformation from characters she has played in the past. In Love and Other Drugs, she reveals her ability to emanate sexuality, realistically portray a character who is jaded by the difficulty of disease, and create a relationship that entices audiences.

Gyllenhaal plays the epitome of a ladies' man in the film. In fact, his character portrays the persona so well it is hard to believe he isn't quite a charmer in his real personal life. As his relationship with Hathaway's character develops, he sheds his "player" façade and becomes a lovable and generous partner.

The film includes moments of humor, especially about the growing popularity of Viagra in the '90s, but it also includes a few watery-eyed moments when the audience sees the characters struggle through the tough parts of love.

Overall, the film succeeds at entertaining — I mean, I'm not one to complain about seeing Gyllenhaal nearly naked about a dozen times in a two-hour chick flick— but in terms of a developed and cohesive story, Love and Other Drugs falls short of expectations.


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