For the first time since Brokeback Mountain, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway have been reunited. The result is Love and Other Drugs, a film that may not be quite as earth-shattering as Brokeback was, but still doesn’t fail to bring home the bacon.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jamie, a pharmaceutical rep with a natural talent for charming everyone–especially women. Countering his performance is Anne Hathaway as Maggie, a 26 year-old woman with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. Maggie is no-nonsense where Jamie is charming, but they do share one similarity: they want sex, not a relationship.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out where this is headed, and the film does not disappoint. The two characters meet, start having sex against every hard surface they can find, and eventually fall in love. In the backdrop of all this drama is Jamie’s career ambitions (sell Zoloft on the turf of an established rep hawking Prozac) and Maggie’s disease. Not to mention that this film is set in the year 1996, providing ample opportunities to laugh at how far we’ve come in fourteen years.
For instance, the film’s opening sequence shows Jamie selling electronic equipment including, but not limited to, camcorders the size of a bulldog, boom boxes that he promotes as being light enough to carry easily on your shoulders, and TVs that are as deep as they are high. The film covers the first introduction of Viagra and rest assured: every other scene features a character wearing a plaid shirt tied around their waist.
Love and Other Drugs is both funny and serious, and you’re likely to laugh at a scene even as you’re tearing up. My one complaint is that I felt as though I was watching two different movies. First Jamie is selling Zoloft, then he makes the switch to Viagra. Then the drug rep storyline is thrust to the wayside to accommodate a 30 minute series of scenes in which Jamie frantically searches for a cure for Parkinson’s, dragging Maggie along for the ride. The movie felt like it was about an hour too long and far too rambling to keep my attention. More than once I turned to my watch to check how much time could possibly be left in this film.
However, if you don’t mind a long, somewhat disjointed film with top notch characters and excellent acting, this is a safe bet. Love and Other Drugs is the perfect date movie–when you get bored with watching Jake Gyllenhaal being charming, just make out with your date! As long as you resurface in time for the touching scene at a Parkinson’s support group, you’ll be golden.
Love and Other Drugs will be released on November 24th.