2010 Running time: 112 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Driven Ohio drugs salesman Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal) finds his ambitions sidelined when he runs into Maggie (Anne Hathaway), a free-spirit who captures his heart. However, he faces competition from a violent former marine (Gabriel Macht) if he is to reverse Maggie's sceptical view of love. Sharp, sassy rom-com from the versatile Edward Zwick, creator of thirtysomething and director of Blood Diamond.

Director

  • Edward Zwick

Cast

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Judy Greer

  • Gabriel Macht

  • Oliver Platt

Review

It's an odd but substantiated fact that, considering the context, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway had undeniable chemistry in Brokeback Mountain.

Re-pairing the duo for a more 'straight' up affair seems an easy win for the rom-com audience, with both actors already having proven their charisma, intelligence and wit on their own merits.

Oh, it also helps that the pair are brain-meltingly gorgeous and that they happen to spend the majority of the movie without any clothes on.

Set against the backdrop of the 90s pharmaceutical boom, charming salesman Jamie (Gyllenhaal) finds the perfect gig offloading medicine for drugs giant Pfizer. His surprisingly rock'n'roll lifestyle is roadblocked by the arrival of snarky, witty and artsy Parkinson's sufferer Maggie (Hathaway).

The two spark off each other in an erotically charged, sexually focused relationship before the inevitable happens and they actually start caring for each other. But when Jamie is handed the drug of a lifetime Viagra, and he finds his career skyrocketing as Maggie's disease debilitates, they're both forced to confront the harsh realities ahead of them.

As that plot synopsis so eloquently demonstrates, Love & Other Drugs' main problem is its lack of identity, with a tone, pace and plot that bounces around as much as the lead's body parts.

What starts out as an enjoyably raunchy non-cliched adult romcom soon falls victim to its era-set trappings. Soppy sepia tinged video diaries and a teeth-gridingly abysmal 90s-esque score (the pair's romantic overture - all soulful crooning and sax solos, is literally laughable) jar with Hathaway and Gyllenhaal's natural chemistry.

And, as Maggie's health degenerates, it morphs into unfocused 'message movie' territory, with an alluded-to, half-baked commentary on America's healthcare system, the gaucheness of the drug industry and the importance of equality, before throwing it all aside to culminate in a hackneyed cheesy ending.

Either way, it's certainly its own brand of cinematic viagra - guaranteed to arouse and, in the short run at least, perk up tired romcom audiences. Just watch out for that small print warning: 'Side effects may include listlessness, confusion and sporadic boredom'.

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