Tulsa TV Memories      

Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal

"Love & Other Drugs" | a film review by Gary Chew

GARY CHEW/Sacramento

Having a lead male character who's named Jamie, and ebulliently played by a youthfully dashing Jake Gyllenhaal ("Brokeback Mountain," "Rendition"), you gotta know you're gonna get a totally cool dude in a date movie who gives a filmgoer no choice other than to love him... even IF he's a pharmaceutical salesman---with a boss named Bruce, played by Oliver "Always Good" Platt.

Jamie is so hot and charismatic with the ladies, he can even score big with a smart, less materialistic gal who's actually concerned about older folks having to choose whether to pay their fuel or med bill. That would be the loveable, alluring and (made to order here) ever so slightly mousey Maggie, played by the really terrific Anne Hathaway ("Brokeback Mountain," "Rachel Getting Married").

The disarming Jamie also gets away with all the various kinds of bribes he drops on his physician-clients and their staff people... in order to remain competitive with other pharm vendors. The docs who prescribe Jamie's meds also are usually cooperative in making sure his products---if needed---are written into their patient's prescriptions. These scenes remind me of, decades back, when a doctor I once had first prescribed me Valium I didn't need. Ouch. Who knew?

The partying Jamie and other docs and drug vendors do, together, with nifty young ladies is awesome, too. It's enough to make a fella want Will Ferrell to show up as the doofus private bartender.

The doofus in "Love and Other Drugs," though, is Jamie's little brother, Josh, played by Josh Gad ("The Rocker"). Josh is along for the "ride" as the comic relief, playing a wealthy, materialistic junior biz guy. He's suffering from the disconnection of a recent gal hook up of his. In all his portly splendorlessness, Josh now bunks at Jamie's.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway

That's about the time Jamie starts bunking with Maggie in her downsized-looking digs; but the place is very cool for the many sweet and hot intimacies between the pair that take things forward along Jamie's way to Redemption City. Unless you've forgotten, this is (except for sex and language) a sanitized date movie---even though Maggie stoically suffers early stages of Parkinson's Disease.

Now, after having said all that, "Love and Other Drugs," has much going for it. Jake and Anne are the most obvious ones. Another is giving visibility for real people stricken with Parkinson's Disease. (I saw Michael J. Fox acknowledged in the closing credits.)

The dialogue is supremely written. It's brisk, contemporary and definitely for mature audiences---as are the several intimate and pleasant, but not excessively erotic scenes between Gyllenhaal and Hathaway in which glimpses of the anatomy are included that one doesn't usually see in your basic date flick. (The movie is rated "R" for drug use, sexual situations, nudity and repetitive coarse language.)

In one musical segment on the soundtrack, it was great to re-hear a song I'd forgotten and now remember playing as a jock: the Kinks doing "A Well Respected Man."

Edward Zwick, producer of two excellent TV series, "My So-Called Life" and "thirtysomething," directed "Love and Other Drugs" and wrote the screenplay with Charles Randolph and Marshall Herskovitz.

It may come to some as a stiff truth that couching a romantically redemptive film in a light, free-spirited exposé of folks who should really be biting off less than they're chewing in the healthcare and pharmaceutical businesses requires a more slickly shifting of the gears than "Love and Other Drugs" employs, no matter how truly autobiographically Jamie Reidy wrote the book which gave rise to this motion picture.

BTW, Reidy's book is titled Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.

(Nice memories flow reflecting on Jill Clayburgh, who, at 66, died recently. In a cameo, Jill plays Jamie's and Josh's mom in this film. Her husband is played by the laudable George Segal. I loved Jill in the movies. "An Unmarried Woman" was just one of them. RIP Ms. Clayburgh 1944-2010.)

Jill Clayburgh (AFP / Getty Images)
Jill Clayburgh (AFP/Getty Images)

Opens wide 11/24.

"Love & Other Drugs" official site.

See Yahoo Movies-Tulsa for theaters and times.

Gary Chew can be reached at garychew@comcast.net,
Facebook.com/justin.playfair and Twitter.com/orwellingly.

Copyright © 2010, Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

Chew's Reviews    Who is Gary Chew?    Main page