Review: Love and Other Drugs


Enter Jake Gyllenhaal, who tonight will perform the dance of the roguish, puppy faced prick who gradually evolves into slightly less of one. This “entertainment” is brought to you by ear piercing dialogue and frequently unprovoked changes in tone. If not for the recognizable star power, and what that brings to the table, Love and Other Drugs would be a straight to video Rom/Com/Parkinson’s piece.

For this foray into the field of swinging dicks, Jaimie Randall (Gyllenhaal) is the lone bon vivant in a family of medical professionals and one Jonah Hill impersonator. Jaimie’s parents are played well by George Segal and the late Jill Clayburg but worry not, target demographic, nobody over the age of fifty has more than a line and Hank Azaria (46) gets a free pass for having voiced The Simpsons.

Our center-of-attention is fired after (surprise) giving it to his co-worker in the storage room, along with just about every customer he “serviced.” As if not yet intolerably lucky in life, he’s thrown a bone of his own and set up with a career in pharmaceutical sales, right when Viagra hits the market. Jaimie’s healthcare adventure is closer to doctor’s office brown nosing, and a vague montage tells us he’s a natural. It’s still not enough to successfully shop Zoloft to the Prozac nation, so there will be baskets full of lighthearted heartbreaking before.

Thankfully the actor is better at boyish charm than brooding, so we don’t have to sit through another Prince of Persia (my review is here). The film isn’t better enough to merit your money though, and its female roles are part of the reason why.

The problem isn’t acting but their dialogue and behavior. After sporadic moments when Jaimie’s calculated dreamboat cover is blown, there are long winded dissections on implied intimacy or lack thereof. I couldn’t even follow it, but I tried. The girls talk about the fact that two people, themselves included, are in an elevator or across a table from one another, or about how they’re in this bar, and it’s Friday, and they’re talking and getting to know one another and it goes on.. and on.. and on. Is this meant to be a collection of snappy comebacks? The philosophy of dating? It sounds like they’re just narrating.

Women in Love and Other Drugs are opportunists, party favors, ice queens, and damsels in distress. Each one could be accurately diagnosed with emotional retardation.  Is this not obvious to people shedding tears for Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), a character obviously named by Stan Lee? When the theater lights came back on I must’ve heard the word “cute” spoken eight times by the clearly objectified.

..and I’m about to objectify them further. The very best ingredient to Love and Other Drugs is naked Anne Hathaway. All the tearjerking Parkinson’s disease nonsense she goes through is an attempt to capitalize on a hot button issue that people started caring about once Marty McFly was afflicted. Hathaway almost never shows symptoms of the disease, though. Stage one is not “hot and healthy.” Yet, in her first scene she lists off her troubles and they outnumber crimes committed by Nazis.

I swear when this happened I thought it would be chalked up to Munchausen’s. Oh, yeah and on top of all that she’s a self proclaimed “drug slut.” I wonder what Cheri Oteri would have shown us.

But whatever, as long as we get to be there for the subsequent breast, ass, legs, and Oh! face exams. They’re frequent, far more so than other popular offerings, but safe in their brevity and don’t really fit. The first one even struggles to explain why she’d be given a breast exam in that situation. They went with “also, unusual spider bite.” If you made it through Havoc, you’ll make it through Love and Other Drugs just fine.

It’s a film with a lot of nudity that’s completely devoid of sensuality. Love: Hollywood style equates to beautiful people being next to each other. That’s what deep connections are, we’re shown, and I’m sure some people take that into their lives. The number of failed relationships must therein parallel bullshit fiction bathed in light, where moussey haired males experience sexual redemption.

News flash, bitches. If Jake Gyllenhall was really in love with Anne Hathaway, he wouldn’t have walked directly from their temporary breakup into a threesome with strangers. He’ll promise to be loyal when her body is set to break down because the director is about to say “cut” and I can see that in Jake’s face.

Overall Score: 4.15 – Terrible.  (4s are terrible in many ways. They’re bad enough that even diehard fans of its genre, director, or cast still probably won’t enjoy it at all, and everyone else will leave the theater incredibly angry. Not only are these not worth renting, you should even change the TV channel on them in the future.)

We’re given glimpses of how good Anne Hathaway is getting as an actress, but this film throws away every piece of quality it has by switching erratically between college humor, heavy moralizing, upbeat party, and thorny roses. Nothing ever comes together the way it should, and as a result the film is insulting to women, men, Parkinson’s patients and any serious understanding of romance buried somewhere in the audience.