Love and Other Drugs DVD Review

Director: Edward Zwick
Screenplay: Edward Zwick, Charles Randolph, Marshall Herskovitz
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad
Released: 24th May 2011
Length: 112 minutes

Let’s wind back to 1996 because this story only works at that particular time as it is a story about a young salesman that sells the new sex-drug Viagra.

Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal) works at an electronics store. He has sex with the manager's girlfriend and gets sacked. Rightly so – it was at work! But the job was well beneath him, he’s a super salesman and it’s a good set up to the film. Jamie’s brother Josh (Josh Gad) is able to set him up with a new job as a sales representative with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Love and Other Drugs (2010) - Movie PosterHis new boss is Bruce (Oliver Platt). Fortunately for the audience Jake doesn’t try to have sex with Bruce, or Bruce’s girlfriend, but only because he probably doesn’t have a girlfriend, I forget. His job is to sell Zoloft and Zithromax to doctors as an alternative to Prozac. One day when he is trying to sell Zoloft to a particularly difficult Doctor Jamie meets one of patients, a girl by the name of Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway). Of course Maggie is very attractive so Jake takes the opportunity to hit on her and maybe find a way to get to the doctor that he is trying to sell drug to via her.

Maggie has a fairly rare case of early onset Parkinson's disease. Jamie and Maggie start to have lots of sex. It’s not quite as exciting or titillating as it sounds but it passes the time. Jake discovers Viagra and begins to sex that to doctors instead and is much more successful. Jamie and Maggie begin to have a proper relationship but of course this is hampered by her illness and her decision not to fall in love.

Gyllenhaal, taking a side-step away from action flicks like Prince of Persia produces a strong performance here. I’d much rather see him in more cerebral films such as this one than action films. I believe that Gyllenhaal is far better suited to thoughtful films where he has to actually act and performance genuine dialogue than blockbuster junk where he has to shout, run and fight a lot. Not to say that Prince of Persia was awful but it wasn’t exactly Oscar-worthy in terms of script and acting. Of course if we are talking about Oscar-worthy performances we need to look no further than the lovely Miss Hathaway. She’s beautiful and she can really act, it’s a great combination and whilst I thought that Rachel Getting Married was complete junk her performance in that film was exceptional… not that I’d ever watch it again… just how boring was that film? Anyway here she produces another Oscar-worthy performance. She is excellent.

The direction too is very good. It’s clear that director Edward Zwick has directed his lead actors here with a fine touch allowing them the flexibility to riff on his own screenplay as well as spark off one another in a very real and genuine way. It really helps to produce a believable and likeable film that has moments of both levity and sadness which also allows Gyllenhaal and Hathaway to really stretch their acting skills and show us what they have to offer as performers.

I saw Love and Other Drugs at the cinema on the week of its release. The attraction of seeing of Gyllenhaal and Hathaway perform together was enough for me to buy a ticket. That said for whatever reason I do not think that Love and Other Drugs will end up being known as a great film, or one that is universally loved. I think it should be held up as an example of excellent film making and acting but I’m not sure enough people saw it and connecting with what it had to say. I understand that it did well at the cinema turning over three times its own budget in revenue and I’m sure it’ll do very well on Blu-ray and DVD but it’s just not been a film that I’ve heard or read much about. I don’t think that it developed much buzz within the industry or with the cinema-going public. This is a great shame as it’s a film that anyone could enjoy and which is worthy of your time. Those that do find it will find a gem of a film with exceptional performances. I whole-heartedly recommend it.

Author : Kevin Stanley