Sunday, February 6, 2011

Love and Other Drugs


Based on a non-fiction book about selling Viagra, Love and Other Drugs is an adult romantic comedy focusing on the dysfunctional relationship between Pfizer drug rep Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), a young woman with Parkinson’s disease. Since the storyline is so generic, it brings about a lot of comparisons with many other romantic comedies you have already seen. What with the entire girl-thinks-they-shouldn’t-be-together-because-she-doesn’t-want-to-be-unfair thing going on, comparisons just cannot be avoided. The movie is rated R and has a lot of cut segments here in the Philippines because of sex scenes aplenty and gratuitous body shots from the two leads.

The rumors are true that Hathaway resembles a younger Julia Roberts here: the curly hair, the big mouth, and even the voice at times. There are also some similarities in terms of plot that would make it hard not to compare it to Pretty Woman. Onscreen chemistry is not only shared by Gyllenhaal with Hathaway but also with his on-screen brother, who is just as hilarious.

The movie also offers a peek at the Pharmaceutical Rep universe and how those medicine salesmen (or ANY person involved in sales) are trained, which somehow gives it that The Devil Wears Prada appeal, coincidentally another Hathaway movie which was also derived from a non-fiction (sort of) book. The movie would also suffice to get you curious about Parkinson’s Disease because of Maggie’s situation.

The word play on the title is cool, where they label love as a drug, but the way the movie unfolds one could also argue that love is an illness. Its signs and symptoms are all over the place! The movie abounds with those obligatory scenes typical of the genre and ends like most romantic comedies do: life-changing realization, chase scene, teary-eyed love pledge. In short, you have seen this before with different characters and different setups.

So, what makes this one special? Nothing. It depends on you, the viewer. In any case, some people just find it easy to identify with the characters in the movie. The performance of Hathaway and Gyllenhaal here are evidently not their career best but they manage to personify two characters that are far from being perfect. For others it has to be the witty dialogue, or just the hilarity, of which this movie has lots. It has its fair share of drama too. Even that monologue at the end of the movie about being with a thousand people yet finding that one that will change everything for you is so cliché. Nonetheless, very optimistic, it is a feel-good movie after all and perhaps a good contender for Valentine Movie of the year for 2011. Fine, it was shown in the US  in November. Who cares! Love it or hate it, you will probably leave the cinema smiling anyway.

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