Thursday, April 7, 2011


Rated : R
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal
Director: Edward Zwick
Genre: drama/comedy/romance

Okay, so the obvious selling point of Love and Other Drugs--based on Jamie Reidy's memoir: Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman-- is Anne Hathaway in the altogether. Which is altogether not a bad reason to watch, even if you don't like anything else about the movie. But I think you will.

Jamie (Jake Gyllenhall) is a hotshot drug rep for Pfizer during the mid nineties. He accosts doctors in parking lots, or, with a mixture of sexual charm and bravado, cons his way past their receptionists to slip his anti-depressant samples onto the ol' docs shelves. It's all a game--played much in the manner of Washington lobbyists who wield their influence over our lawmakers--to get the MDs to prescribe his drugs over some other rep's drugs.

Jamie bribes one of the docs to take him on as an "intern," and subsequently gets to be in the room when Maggie, (Anne Hathaway) a young woman dealing with premature onset Parkinson's disease, takes her boob out for a quick inspection. You know right there that this is the beginning of a budding romance.

Jake and Maggie begin a sex only relationship, because she is the type who won't allow anyone to love her because she perceives complications down the line due to her medical condition. But all that sex (and Hathaway is as believably real in the bedroom as she is anyplace else) brings them to the brink of wanting something deeper, but not letting on that they want something deeper, because that might spoil the party. It's your classic boy-gets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-has-to-fight-to-get-girl-back tale. And even though Love and Other Drugs is a drama, there are some choice comic moments as well--especially when Jake gets the go ahead to promote Viagra, the new wonder drug that's "lifting the spirits" of men everywhere !

Love and Other Drugs is also an indictment of a system that uses MDs as the middle-men--glorified drug pushers if you will-- to turn us into a nation of addicts and reap enormous profits for the pharmaceutical companies. That's why every other commercial on TV now exhorts you to "ask your doctor" about the benefits of some prescription drug with a laundry list of side-effects (like death) that are way worse than the condition you'd be treating. (And every day the lawyers are on there drumming up business from clients whose lives have been devastated by Accutane, or some other dangerous product that never should have been approved in the first place.) But our nation of zombies--especially vulnerable seniors-- keeps on popping those pills by the handful. If that isn't shameful enough, look at what they've done--in collaboration with the school system--to our hyperactive kids.

End of rant.

There's plenty of sex and lots of drugs in Love and Other Drugs...the only thing missing for baby boomers is the rock n roll. Play the movie, then go put on the Stones...and you'll feel complete.

Grade: B +