A new kind of "Love" story

Nov. 29, 2010, 7:51 a.m. | By Molly Nicholson | 13 years ago

"Love and Other Drugs" provides an atypical love story

What makes for a rockin' movie night? Half-naked – well almost fully naked – Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway tangled together in a comedic, yet poignant film about the ultimate drug: love. "Love and Other Drugs" explores not only the intoxicating drug of love, but also the once up-and-coming drugs of pharmaceutical companies during the turn of the '90s.

The movie is based loosely off of ex-pharmaceutical representative turned author Jamie Reidy's book, "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman," which is about Reidy's legendary insider stories. Director and co-writer Edward Zwick embellishes the world Reidy's book unveils, yet expertly combines character struggles throughout the romantic drama.

Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal) is a drug sales representative whose alluring charm allows him to advance not only in his career, but also with countless numbers of women he meets. Randall meets his match in Maggie Murdock, a free-spirited 26-year old with Stage 1 Parkinson's disease. Randall and Murdock are destined for love – something neither of them wants. When both finally realize where their relationship is going, they do everything they can to avoid it.

This isn't the first time Gyllenhaal and Hathaway have had an onscreen relationship. Fortunately, their partnership in "Love and Other Drugs" is a vast improvement over their less stellar performance as a married couple in "Brokeback Mountain." Hathaway resembles an early Julia Roberts with an artistic flair and voluptuous brunette curls. Meanwhile Gyllenhaal puts on a performance that captures Reidy's life with charm carried throughout even the saddest of parts. Maybe the audience sees a little bit more of Gyllenhaal and Hathaway (good-bye naïve Andy Sachs) than bargained for – the popcorn will drop right out of your mouth – but almost all of the sex scenes are essential and productive to the film as a whole.

Gyllenhaal takes on the role of a smart, unmotivated skirt chaser with the ease of selling a simple sample of Viagra. His comedic timing is perfect, and he delivers his lines with ease. Ultimately, Gyllenhaal makes his debonair character believable.

Hathaway portrays a deep character with a life-altering disease perfectly. The riveting acting during scenes when Murdock has tremors are riveting and leave audience members literally on the edge of their seats. Hathaway's portrayal of a character with pent-up emotional damage is pushed underneath her core, but Hathaway is able to bring it to the surface without any obvious over-acting. It would not be surprising if Hathaway is nominated for multiple movie awards for this role.

The script not only is witty and inventive, but also provides a look into a disease and a medical conspiracy that many people are not aware of. Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impairs motor skills, cognitive processes and other functions. The movie portrays the disease as something Hathaway's character can overcome, and as she learns that she needs someone to help her along the way, her character development is monumental.

The audience will beg for more one-on-one time with Gyllenhaal and Hathaway, but the supporting cast lends laughs. Josh Gad plays Randall's technologically advanced millionaire brother Josh, who is unable to find another place to live after his wife kicks him out. Zwick takes a gamble on this screenwriting part, but Josh's appearance makes for a down right comical performance. Randall's partner and competition in the drug business Bruce Winston, played by Oliver Platt, gives the audience insight on the drug corruption of the pharmaceutical companies. Platt is able to deliver a few laughs as well while providing Gyllenhaal's character with insane advice that always seems to work perfectly.

The portrayal of the drug companies in which Randall works also allows his character to develop throughout the movie. As his job moves forward it is easy to pick up the parallels between his relationship with Murdock and his difficult and shady job description.

The cinematography is typical for a romantic-type movie and works for the film because the audience is more focused on the story than on how the story is portrayed through the camera. There are riveting parts in the film including an "un-convention" with people suffering from Parkinson's disease sharing their hopes, dreams and trials.

This film provides a new outlook onto the modern romantic film. "Love and Other Drugs" will leave the audience audience with hope and love.

"Love and Other Drugs" (113 minutes) is rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, persuasive language and some drug material. Now playing in theatres everywhere.

Molly Nicholson. GO RAVENS! I would want nothing more than to be sitting on a beach watching the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl. More »

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