Saturday, December 7, 2013

Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs; comedy/ satire/ drama/ romance, USA, 2010; D: Edward Zwick, S: Jake Gylenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Josh Gad, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria

The 90s. Jamie Randall works as a sales representative of a pharmaceutical company, and tries to sway doctors to prescribe its product, Zoloft, instead of Prozac. While pretending to be a doctor's assistant, he meets Maggie, a 26-year old who is one of the youngest diagnosed patients of Parkinson's disease. Even though she is cynical at first, he manages to charm her and have sex with her. His overweight brother, Josh, is annoying him while staying at his apartment. Jamie hits it big when Viagra is introduced to the market, but Maggie breaks up with him so that she will not be a burden with her disease. However, he decided to stay with her in the end.

"Love & Other Drugs" is a strange patchwork that blends four different subplots into a more of a chaotic than a harmonious whole. It starts off as a comedy, then becomes an erotic love story, then switches to a satire on pharmaceutical industry and the arrival of the Viagra, only to conclude as a tragic handicap drama (the main heroine is one of the youngest patients of Parkinson's disease and her health is deteriorating). In the end, we get some sort of erotic comedy version of "Philadelphia". It could have worked, but a more concise storyline was needed than this one, that jumps from one plot to another, all of whom seem as if they could have been a good film on their own, but not joined together when they all nullify each other. Too many supporting characters are annoying and unnecessary, especially Jamie's slob brother, the low point of the story, but the two main characters really shine and are played with great energy by Jake Gylenhaal and, especially fantastic, Anne Hathaway, who did not shy of showing skin and were both nominated for a Golden Globe as best actors in a musical or comedy. Another great little plus point is a sequence that shows Jamie trying to sway a doctor to prescribe his product, Zoloft, instead of Prozac, that gives a good insight into the system. The director tried to counterbalance the melodramatic last third of the story with comedy, avoiding it to turn too sentimental, but the result is mixed when it was done through such tasteless jokes as the one where Jamie catches brother Josh watching his sex video he recorded while sleeping with Maggie.


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