Sunday, November 28, 2010


Still from Love and Other Drugs
Based on the Memoir Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) on his passionate relationship with girlfriend Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), Edward Zwick's Love and Other Drugs examines the darker complexities of Love. Jamie is a promiscuous Playboy, unsure of his direction in life - other than looking for that next girl to bed.  He lands a job as a salesman for the anti-depressant Zoloft, with pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer. Realizing quickly that he too can use his good looks and charm to his advantage in this industry, Jamie gets in good with the female Receptionists of influencial Physicians.

While at the office of Dr. Stan Knight (Hank Azaria) one day, Jamie meets the alluring yet guarded Maggie, finally meeting his match after much experience in Womanizing. Only 26 years-old, Maggie is diagnosed with Stage One Parkinson's Disease but this does not stop him from pursuing her.  She however, almost is certain in her belief that she is un-dateable as a result of her debilitating illness.

In a case of perfect timing, Jamie champions the miracle sex drug Viagra, developed by Pfizer at the time, and sees his profile sky-rocketing as curiosity and interest in the drug peaks. At the same time, his relationship with Maggie becomes strained, as she wills her self-defeat into existence and ultimately pushes Jamie away.  Will Jamie and Maggie's relationship succumb to the pressures of his career and the inevitable consequences of Parkinson's Disease?

Despite much critical backlash for being chalk full of clichés, Love and Other Drugs is emotionally satisfying as a Romantic Comedy/Drama.  Should some of the dialogue helmed by Zwick, Charles Randolph and Marshall Heskov have been given to lesser Actors, the Film easily could have fallen to the wayside.  Gyllenhaal and Hathaway however, are comfortable to watch and convincing as a troubled couple and there is never any doubt that we want anything else than for their relationship to work.  In this sense, this story succeeds as both Jamie and Maggie both grow, fight and transform.   And also, it doesn't hurt that there's plenty of Nudity too, which perhaps is necessary to the Film's underlying Sex theme.  This is a story built around the success of a man who sold Viagra after all.  

Love and Other Drugs from Fox, is now in wide release and aims more for the heart than the mind.  Grade: B+ 

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