Posts Tagged ‘Love and Other Drugs’


love_and_other_drugs01“Love and Other Drugs,” the new film starring Oscar nominees Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhal, isn’t your standard rom com. Call it a drom com, or a romantic dramedy, but it isn’t afraid to try and wring a tear or two from you while slathering on the romance.

Gyllenhal is Jamie, a good looking med school drop-out who finds his calling selling pharmaceuticals. Until meeting Maggie (Hathaway), a beautiful and talented but troubled woman, he slid through life based solely on charm and his ability to get people to do anything he wants them to do. He falls in love with her but [SPOILER] because she has early onset Parkinson’s Disease she refuses to let Jamie get too close, preferring to keep their relationship purely physical. As her sickness progresses they both find themselves with some very serious decisions to make. [END OF SPOILERS]

Based on Jamie Reidy’s memoir “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman,” the movie is a mix of broad comedy (which doesn’t always work so well) and heartfelt romance (which does). Gyllenhal and Hathaway sell the romance, their huge eyes—both these actors have soulful eyes bigger than on any sad-eyed clown painting—and make a convincing couple. The plot takes its lead from the standard rom com set-up but liberally mixes in sex, nudity (yes, movie lovers the two comely leads spend a great deal of time topless and bottomless!) and more genuine feeling than any ten Katherine Heigl movies.

It’s not a seamless mingling of serious romance and comedy however. Other than Maggie Jamie shares his screen time with two sidekicks, and that, frankly is one too many. Oliver Platt, as his sales mentor is a riot and underused. Josh Gad, as Jamie’s porn addicted brother, the role Jack Black would have played ten years ago and Jonah Hill probably auditioned for this year, is funny-ish but wears out his welcome early on. And please Mr. Gyllenhal never do “painful erection” jokes ever again in your career.

“Love and Other Drugs” could have deepened the script by increasing the time it gives to the evils of the pharmaceutical business but instead avoids the disease-of-the-week clichés and puts the focus where it belongs, on two very likeable and watchable stars doing some very good work.

Casual sex’s silver screen return In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: January 18, 2011

WFTCRMImageFetch.aspxCasual sex seems to be making a comeback at the movies.

Recently Love and Other Drugs showcased the informal liaisons of Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. “We decided it was going to be two characters that both really couldn’t be intimate,” says Jake, “and so we both went to sex as a way of avoiding things.”

This week in No Strings Attached Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher become the latest Hollywood a-listers to try and keep their relationship strictly physical in this Ivan Reitman comedy.

Other films to ask “What’s love got to do with it?” include 9 Songs, the erotic Michael Winterbottom movie about Matt, an English scientist, and Lisa, an American on vacation in London. They meet, jump into the sack and go to Primal Scream and Franz Ferdinand concerts and soon learn, as Roger Ebert noted in his review, “sex is easy but love is hard.”

Another movie couple learned that lesson, with much happier results in Knocked Up, the 2007 comedy about a one night stand, an unplanned pregnancy and enforced maturity. The Guardian called it “a new genre of romantic comedy in which an unappealing hero gets together with a gorgeous, successful woman.” Star Katherine Heigl had a different take, suggesting the film “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.” In response the film’s director Judd Apatow said “I’m just shocked she [Heigl] used the word shrew. I mean, what is this, the sixteen-hundreds?”

The reviews for Casual Sex?, a 1988 comedy starring Lea Thompson and Victoria Jackson as two women who look for love at an upscale spa—“It was the early eighties,” says Thompson’s character, “and sex was still a good way to meet new people.”—sum up the way many people feel about the sex without commitment. The movie,” wrote Hal Hinson in the Washington Post, “is exactly like the real thing—kinda empty, kinda unfulfilling, and you feel just awful afterward.”

On the other hand James Bond, possibly the screen’s biggest proponent of casual sex, never seemed to have a problem with a quick fling. Not willing to limit himself to earth-bound trysts in Moonraker he even has a rendezvous on a spaceship careening back through earth’s atmosphere. “My God, what is Bond doing?!” asks his boss Sir Frederick Gray. “I think he’s attempting re-entry sir,” replies Q.

Hollywood plots get hooked on drugs In Focus by Richard Crouse FOR METRO CANADA Published: November 26, 2010

repo_the_genetic_opera_We’ve all heard those disclaimers at the end of pharmaceutical commercials.

“May be-harmful-to-humans-if-swallowed-the-most-common-side-effects-are-temporary-eyelid-droop-nausea-decreased-sweating-avoid-contact-with-skin.”

Usually they sound like one long breathless sentence that seems scarier than the disease the drugs are meant to prevent.

A new film, Love and Other Drugs, starring Jake Gylennhaal and Anne Hathaway as a pharmaceutical salesman and the girl he loves respectively, however, forgoes the disclaimer. In fact, in what almost seems like a 90-minute ad for Viagra, it appears that the drug’s—Vitamin V, Jake calls it—only side effect is that it works too well.

It is the rare movie that uses a real brand name drug as a plot device. Even though the odd movie like Prozac Nation dares to name names, often filmmakers use fictitious drugs to advance their stories (and avoid lawsuits from notoriously litigious Big Pharma), but even in fantasy, side effects abound.

Brain Candy, the 1996 Kids in the Hall comedy, created a cure for depression called GLeeMONEX that “makes you feel like it’s 72°F in your head all the time.” Unfortunately the pill’s patients also turn into comatose zombies.

David Cronenberg devised Ephemerol, a tranquilizer used as a morning sickness remedy for his film Scanners. Side effects?  Telekinetic and telepathic abilities. Later, in Naked Lunch, Cronenberg featured the more recreational drug Bug Powder, a yellow dust formally used by exterminators, informally by people looking to find a “literary high.”

In Repo! The Genetic Opera, Paris Hilton’s character Amber Sweet was addicted to a powerful blue, glowing opiate extracted from dead bodies called Zydrate. I’ll do wild things to “your soul for one more hit of that glow,” she sings. An alternative cinematic painkiller is Novril, the pills that kept James Caan sedated in Misery.

Filmmakers don’t just fictionalize pharmaceuticals, however. Plenty of recreational drugs get the Hollywood treatment. Remember Space Coke from Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie? One snort was enough to send both Cheech and Chong literally into outer space.

A Clockwork Orange was chock-a-block with fake drugs; everything from Drencrom to the synthetic mescaline Synthemesc to Vellocet, which produced ultra-violent tendencies and sudden outbursts of Singing in the Rain.

Perhaps the strangest recreational drug from the movies is Alien Nation’s Jabroka. Aliens find it highly addictive and grow to monstrous proportions when they take it, but to humans it tastes like dish soap and has no effect.