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Movie preview: Love and Other Drugs

Film Where: General release 2010/12/13 13:36:10

Movie preview: Love and Other Drugs
BY ROSE CAPP
13 Dec, 2010 12:38 PM
LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS (M)

The pairing of Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway would appear to be a match made in Gen Y screen heaven. The two have appeared together on screen before, but Brokeback Mountain was a rather different proposition to the pre-Christmas romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs.

Based on Jamie Reidy’s novel Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, the film seems to be set in the late 1990s. But this is certainly not evident from the costume design and art direction. Directed by Edward Zwick, who also co-wrote the script, the film’s story concerns latter-day Lothario Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal), an electronic goods salesman turned pharmaceutical rep. Jamie meets Maggie Murdock (Hathaway) during a medical consultation, and an unlikely romance begins.

Although Zwick’s film starts promisingly with a satirical tone not unlike last year’s hit Up in the Air, it quickly becomes clear that the comparison ends there. It is rare that a film manages to irritate on so many levels, but Love and Other Drugs offends in so many different ways. Relentlessly sexist (from the gratuitous nudity Hathaway is forced to endure to other equally tiresome forms of female objectification), Zwick’s film treats Jamie’s overweight brother with unnecessary vitriol, paints the medical profession as terminally venal and manages to promote the interests of large pharmaceutical companies and their specific products while masquerading as a critique of the industry.

Too long at 112 minutes, and fatally unfunny at key moments, the film also manages to make the romance between two appealing actors of the calibre of Gyllenhaal and Hathaway unconvincing. As prominent anti-drugs crusader Nancy Reagan famously exhorted: Just say no!

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