I love everything about the female form. But if I had to rank my favorite parts, I’d confess to being an ass man. Coming in a close second are the breasts — I can’t get enough of them either. Anne Hathaway, has a great set of boobs. You may have seen them before with the help of a pause button in some of her earlier flicks like Havoc and Brokeback Mountain. In Love and Other Drugs she puts them, and plenty more, out there for all to relish without the need for technological help.
And believe it or not, director Edward Zwick’s latest doesn’t need her gratuitous nudity (even though it is a most awesome additive) to be an inventive, entertaining romantic comedy. It does, however, help with forgetting the unnecessary pity party slapped onto the ass-end of the movie.
For lack of a better term, Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a ladies’ man. As a pharmaceutical rep for Pfizer, he is a like a kid in a candy store, women — cute nurses and doctors, sexy drug reps — at his fingertips all for the manipulation and conquering. And thanks to her well shaped boobs and pride in showing them, Maggie (Hathaway), during a routine examination, catches his eye. It’s all mindless, uncommitted sex from there. A lot of mindless, uncommitted sex. Great for him, because he’s not interested in being tied down (or so he thinks), great for her because, she’s got early onset of Parkinson’s disease and she doesn’t want to rely on anyone when her condition worsens (or so she thinks) and great for the viewers — both men and women — because there is more than a fair share of skin showing during all that fun physical activity.
During this period of Love and Other Drugs the comedy is strong and the whirlwind romance flows. The laughs come at the expense of Jamie’s slovenly, rich brother Josh (Josh Gad). He’s a fish out of water in Jamie’s world (a pajama party exemplifies this) while being a grounding force for his older brother. The single-track minded Dr. Stan Knight (Hank Azaria) has got himself a few moments too. Gyllenhaal, well, he is a charismatic son of a bitch. He’s got the looks and the boyish charm to tempt most any woman, and it helps immensely in his portrayal of the shallow Jamie. For the deeper parts of Jamie — you know, like when he comes to the conclusion that the ménage à trois life isn’t for him and he really loves Maggie — Gyllenhaal has the acting chops to make the viewer really think Jamie is coming to a profound realization in his life.
Hathaway is a lot of fun to watch as well (and not only because she is naked so often). Her filmography may not scream of good choices but she has talent. Maggie has a few dimensions to her personality — deep down wants love and doesn’t want to be simply seen as the hot chick with an incurable disease — and Hathaway balances these aspects well.
I can’t say the same for Edward Zwick along with fellow writers, Charles Randolph and Marshall Herskovitz. They kinda screw up the handling of her disease, treating it as a made-for-Lifestyle-television hot topic instead of a genuine plot device. They have Maggie running through the checklist of clichés, including, but not limited to: Uncontrollable hand shaking at the most inopportune moments; temper tantrums when she runs out of her prescriptions; and a climatic sobfest when she pushes her man away due to her illness. I am certain all this was meant to pull on tear strings of audience but it all felt contrived and sappy. Really, really sappy.
Even with this heavy-handedness sentimentalism (there are also a few uppercuts thrown to the chin of the pharmaceutical companies and their greed), Love and Other Drugs is a good entry into the rom-com stable. It could have, however, been a great entry.