Monday, January 3, 2011
Love and Other Drugs
Love and Other Drugs stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie, a drug rep who likes pussy just slightly more than money. He, according to imdb.com, 'meets his match' with Maggie (Anne Hathaway), an ill free-spirit who lives in a loft and smokes. For realsies. This is a romantic comedy. Really more of a romcomdram. Emphasis on the dram.
While the writers (all three of them who adapted the book "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman" by Jamie Reidy) seem to try their hardest to bring these 'fresh, new' romcomdram aspects to celluloid (bless their hearts) this is still the same, corny as hell story we've all seen a thousand times. The movie is so chock full of cliches I laughed out loud several times. For instance, Maggie's wild curly hair, overall wearing self is the absolute most unoriginal free spirit I've ever seen in my life. I felt like I was watching a freakish red haired Meg Ryan / Julia Roberts / Goldie Hawn hybrid creature try to cram in every bloody descriptor from every romcom ever into one character. Mind you, Anne Hathaway is a hell of an actress and she sure did what she could which included getting out her cans as much as possible. Oooooh...different.
Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is only slightly less annoying in terms of 'seen it all before'. He's this big time player (women) who wants to be an even bigger player (money AND women) as a drug rep for Pfizer. Of course, things pick up (sorry couldn't resist) when Pfizer develops Viagra. He manages to tie down the can't-be-tied-down Maggie (whoah man) and all is going well until *SPOILER ALERT* things stop going so well. Maggie has Parkinson's disease in her 20's and she has a few ultimate 'feel sorry for me audience!' moments. Of course we do, because it's Hathaway and Parkinson's damn it. Anyone else though and I might have not cared at all.
The writers didn't do a great job of blending together all the poignant scenes (probably because there were three of them, writers not poignant scenes) and I found myself checking the time more than once. I hate that. I do believe though, in the writers' defense, part of the reason I failed to become fully immersed in this film were the four teenage boys sitting alone together (hey it's 2011) having a chat and texting throughout the movie. I even had to get up and move. Seriously though, why pay all that money for a ticket just to talk? Frustrating.
Love and Other Drugs' final nail in the coffin for me was the end. The dialogue rivaled the likes of "You had me at hello" or "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her". Mega gag. It was about five minutes of extremely re-written tripe (it's the only way it could have been whittled down to such specific and unnatural lines). I wanted to scream.
The only saving grace for me in this film was the chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Hathaway. The kisses seemed real. They were comfortable together. I've rarely seen a couple on screen that so naturally mimicked one from real-life. Kudos to them for that. I'm also pleased it highlighted Parkinson's disease, an illness that is often swept under the rug. My Great Uncle Alto, lovely man may he rest in peace, was absolutely plagued by it. He could barely talk but he smiled so often. I miss him very much. For more on Parkinson's you should read Michael J Fox's autobiography 'Lucky Man'.
So what do I give Love and Other Drugs? I think on a scale of TV Movie of the Week to Notebook, it sits around the middle I suppose. This isn't something I'd own on DVD or ever want to revisit. Apart from being boring and frankly insulting to most moviegoers, it was just so unoriginal. I want to read the book now to see how badly Hollywood ruined it.
I'm off again to the movies tonight to hopefully erase this shitty experience from my mind for all eternity.
How did you feel about Love and Other Drugs? Am I just being a hater?