Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs

(MA) Fox DVD/BD

Based on a memoir by former Viagra salesman Jamie Reidy, Love and Other Drugs centres around an unlikely pair of lovers: Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal), a smooth-talking pharmaceutical salesman, and Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), a fiercely independent bohemian artist who, at 26, is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The film begins promisingly, with a funny and insightful look inside the world of pharmaceuticals at a time (the late 1990s) when the commercialisation and marketing of drugs was exploding in America.

Directed by Edward Zwick, the film’s plot is a romantic comedy cliché: Playboy finally finds himself in female form only to fall in love with her. Trouble is, just like him she doesn’t want to commit because of her nihilistic view that she won’t be around long enough for the relationship to work.

In the end, the main reason the film doesn’t work is the feeling that it is two different films sandwiched together: one, a political statement about excess in the era of the designer drug; the other, a mismatched love story based on sex rather than commitment.

Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are great actors and they have chemistry but the film doesn’t gel and rather than engaging the viewer it keeps them at arms length.

Love and Other Drugs is full of rapid-fire dialogue and situations that feel staged rather than real, which is a shame because there was a message in there somewhere, if we could be bothered finding it.

Adrian Drayton

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