Love and Other Drugs gives you your fill of Jake Gyllenhaal-Anne Hathaway sex but the movie is an odd blend of dick jokes and soap-opera depression. Gyllenhaal plays Jamie, a failed medical school student and emotionally detached pharmaceutical rep at Pfizer who believes his one main talent is bedding women. While lobbying a big name doctor he meets Maggie (Hathaway), the perkiest early stage-parkinson’s patient you’ve ever met.
Both want nothing serious, just a relief from the pain of being themselves, but before they know it, they’re falling head over heels for one another. Just how can they handle Maggie’s slow deterioration from the disease? Romantic comedies are usually so bad that I usually commend one just for giving us two rational people who think and share things with one another. I also think Gyllenhaal shows considerable charm and Hathaway is heartbreakingly cute.
Just for all the light-hearted scenes and bold pronouncements of love you know the disease is going to be the focal point that drives this relationship, and unless you like self-pity, desperation, and speeches about deteriorating health in your romances you might want to leave this one alone. We’ve seen this soap-opera before, just not with erection gags (the movie takes place during the dawn of Viagra) or with a crude, obnoxious character like Jamie’s brother (Josh Gadd), who at one point even masturbates to a sex-tape of Jamie.
Based on a drug salesman’s expose “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman”, the movie touches on greed, unfairness, and people who fall through the cracks in the Big Pharma system but all this never becomes a big part of the movie. “Love” is just a predictable romance that wants you to swoon, laugh, and cry out loud at, oddly all at the same time.