Director: Edward Zwick
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Josh Gad, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria
It's a winning formula: kooky, yet sexy actor; kooky, yet sexy actress; a love story; pharmaceuticals. On paper, a regularly naked Anne and Jake giving each other some serious love (and other drugs) sounds like a great several hours of no-frills enjoyment. But the results are inconclusive. It's got all the goods but doesn't quite rise to the occasion.
Jakey plays Jamie, a man who lives to sell. He persuades dear little old ladies to buy cut-price stereo equipment and convinces every girl that he's the one for them. He could sell the Lib-Con coalition, he's that good. So it's no surprise to see him taking a shot at the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. He's swiftly shipped off to a rainy backwater town with his hotshot deadbeat brother, Josh (Gad), a horrible cross between Zach Galifianakis and Jack Black. Jamie quickly gets bored. Which is where Maggie (Hathaway) comes in.
Maggie is a free-spirited artist with a very 60s approach to love. She refuses to fall for Jamie's winning charms. She then shows him her breast (like she did in Brokeback). He's sold (like he was in Brokeback). The pair then proceed to (ahem) get to know each other better, while Jamie pedals his wares down at the doctor's surgery. Until something huge comes up.
Yep, Viagra. The love drug of the title. Because, weirdly, this film isn't just about the number of times we can see a nice pert pair of Oscar-nominated buttocks. It's supposed to be a serious exploration into the effect Viagra had on peoples' lives (i.e. a big one). It's only in the second half of the film, when we glimpse the frustration of Maggie's illness and the couple's grim future, that the story really starts to show promise. Shame it couldn't have got it up like that from the beginning.
In the hands of a braver director, this might have reached the offbeat romance it was aiming for. But with the lure of a big budget opening and a desperation to get a slice of all those Hangover-style gags, Zwick allows a potentially solid story to become little more than a vehicle for Jake's bod, Anne's boobs and Gad's annoying face. None of which we need as much of as we think.
Love and Other Drugs carries its own unfortunate side effects. Like Viagra, it's an enjoyable ride, but ultimately a bit of a let-down.
- anne hathaway
- edward zwick
- hank azaria
- jack black
- jake gyllenhaal
- josh gad
- lib dems