Love & Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs Love and Other Drugs Love and Other Drugs Love and Other Drugs Love and Other Drugs

Sexy and appealing, Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal benefit from a strong, erotic chemistry in “Love & Other Drugs,” and you root for them throughout, despite the major shortcomings of the film, which is unable to decide what is about, or what genre it belongs too.


Like others features of director Edward Zwick, who directed and co-wrote the scrip, “Love & Other Drugs” suffers from an identity crisis. Part a date movie, part schmaltzy melodrama (a weepie that would leave many viewers in tears), part critique of the corporate world, part satire of the medical establishment, but not satisfying on any of these levels, the movie begins extremely well before it takes a turn for the worse midway, from which it never recovers.
Hathaway plays Maggie, an alluring free spirit who won’t let anything, including a formidable physical challenge, tie her down. That is until she meets her kindred spirit in Jamie Randall, portrayed by Gyllenhaal, whose good looks and charisma had serve him well in his personal live with women, as well as in the professional milieu of the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie’s relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimately desirable drug: love.
While most relationships proceed from attraction to love to sex, this one goes the opposite direction, thus promising to tell an unconventional love story. Unfortunately, despite the new setting and the relatively unexplored professions of the protagonists, “Love & Other Drugs” quickly turns into something more predictable.
This is the second pairing of Gyllenhaal and Hathaway after “BrokebackMountain,” in which the latter played a supporting part. Here, both thespians are center-stage most of the time.
On paper, the characters seem more interestingly and richly delineated than is the case when you watch the actual movie. A charismatic underachiever, Jamie comes across as a guy who’s finally found his métier as a representative for Viagra, a drug that has just hit the market, launching many jokes (and even ridicule) when it becomes a pharmaceutical and goes one to become a pop cultural phenomenon.   His match, Maggie, is a beautiful and talented artist. 
Thematically, “Love & Other Drugs” bears resemblance to Zwick’s promising feature directorial debut, “About Last Night,” a critical and box-office hit. The former is to the present what the latter was for the zeitgeist of the 1980s.
In his new movie, Zwick aims to say something relevant about how sex and lust evolve into a deeper, more meaningful love between two individuals who go out of their way and are desperate not to go into a deeper, more profound bond with one another.
In its good moments, “Love & Other Drugs” explores realistically how physical attraction and then powerful love can—and do– defeat the couple’s “better” impulses to resist connecting. No matter how much they try to avoid it, Jamie and Maggie just can’t help but fall in love and surrender to something stronger than their intention.
We get to see the comedic and more serious facets of love, the fun to spend time together (n and out of bed), fear to get emotionally involved, the initial (easier) temptation to run away from intimacy and caring, the hard work that it takes to cultivate and maintain it.
But, alas, there are not many good moments in the picture to sustain involvement. In its eagerness to please at all costs, “Love & Other Drugs” gets progressively weaker and more diffuse in its concerns.