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Love and Other Drugs

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) is one smooth man about town. We first meet him when he’s a sales assistant using amateur psychology to woo pretty customers. Fired for sleeping with the boss’s girlfriend, Jamie discovers the perfect outlet for his cheerful charm: pharmaceutical sales. Taking a trainee job as a rep for Pfizer, Jamie doorsteps doctors and seduces receptionists in an attempt to sell his wares. First he’s flogging Zoloft, but when Viagra’s possibilities as a sex drug emerge, he’s first in line to push it – and his popularity soars.

Inspired by former rep Jamie Reidy’s book ‘Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman’, the film takes an entertaining, breezily cynical look at the tricks of the pharmaceutical trade. But that’s the drugs stuff – what of love? The tone shifts after Jamie meets commitment-shy artist Maggie (Anne Hathaway). At first they banter and bed each other (a lot). Then Jamie starts to question his lifestyle; the L-word is mentioned. Oh, and she has early-onset Parkinson’s disease. And so it morphs from macho career comedy into sexy romcom-turned-romantic weepie.

It’s like two or three films stapled together – imagine channel-hopping between ‘Wall Street’, ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Sweet November’. Editing choices are perplexing: subplots and characters appear forgotten then hastily revisited out of context. ‘Love and Other Drugs’ is not an unpleasant experience – it has charming leads and a fitfully witty script. It also shows you more of Gyllenhaal and Hathaway than you’ve seen before, should that be of interest. But it has so much going on it fails to develop any of its strands satisfactorily. Ultimately, the unsettled tone undermines the romantic conclusion. Still, you’ve got to admire the ambition it shares with its cocky hero. Not many films would follow a Parkinson’s convention with a Viagra-fuelled sex party.

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Wednesday 29 December 2010
  • Duration:112 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Edward Zwick
  • Screenwriter:Edward Zwick, Charles Randolph, Marshall Herskovitz, Jamie Blanks
  • Cast:
    • Jake Gyllenhaal
    • Anne Hathaway
    • Judy Greer
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