First trip to the Cinema of the year to begin on the 115 new releases part of the challenge…
#3 / 365 ‘Love And Other Drugs’ – 112 mins
Cinema challenge #1 / 115
Loosely based on Jamie Reidy’s 2005 non-fiction memoir Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, this is Edward Zwick’s latest directorial offering and first attempt to break into the rom-com genre, as we normally associate him with epics such as ‘The Last Samurai’, ‘Blood Diamond’ and ‘Defiance’.
Set in 1996 and to which I must add it has a great soundtrack, it sees the story of silky smooth, cocky, and seemingly irresistible to women, sales exec Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) whose two greatest skills are selling and shagging and it’s the latter which causes him to lose his job, after balling his boss’ girlfriend. Aptly the title should have been ‘Sex And Other Drugs‘ as there is lots of the fruity stuff well throughout.
Fast forward and we are introduced to Jamie’s family during an ‘annoying’ family dinner who all stem from a medical profession and it’s here that he ends up working for Pfizer selling pharmaceuticals after recommendation by his brother Josh played by Josh Gad, who provides many if not all of the films hilarious laugh-out-loud moments.
Jamie soon meets Maggie Murdoch (Anne Hathaway), a brainy, free spirit whose suffering from early onset Parkinson’s disease and oh she doesn’t do ‘relationships’ just sex, and lots of it.
There are great performances Gyllenhaal and Hathaway as they show genuine on-screen chemistry as they sparkle away together. Whilst we are talking about performances it’s worth noting that the always ultra-reliable Oliver Platt is equally brilliant playing Jamie’s boss in a supporting role, I cannot understand why he never gets offered the lead role in a film!?
This could have been this as wonderful as last years ‘Up in the Air’ as it borrows a lot of similar traits from there, where that dealt with ‘love and the unemployed’ this portrays ‘love and illness’. Unfortunately it isn’t as plot descends into the middle to last act it just becomes too messy and isn’t sure exactly what route it wants to take, and ends up safely playing that usual rom-com trump card of sticking a big happy bow on it.